Curbs, shutdown, protests, clashes mark 9th Friday of uprising

Srinagar: The 9th Friday of ongoing civil uprising in Kashmir was marked by protests, clashes in which over two dozen protesters as well as few cops were injured amid curfew-like restrictions and lockdown. The authorities once again disallowed Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

The authorities today imposed curfew-like restrictions in Old City, Maisuma, Habba Kadal and Lal Chowk as well as in other towns of south and north Kashmir including Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Ganderbal and Baramulla. Thousands of forces personnel were deployed in Srinagar areas including in downtown since early morning who restricted movement of people by erecting barricades and barbed wires.

The authorities for the 9th consecutive week disallowed Friday prayers at historic Jama Masjid in Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar. According to locals, the force personnel deployed at Nowhatta and in adjoining areas showed sticks to all those who tried to come out of their houses for offering prayers. Residents, particularly youth, of several downtown areas alleged that forces didn’t allow them to move towards mosques for offering Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, protests and violent clashes erupted at multiple places in Srinagar and on its outskirts after Friday prayers. Hundreds of people took out a rally from Dargah Hazratbal Shrine after Friday prayers but police swung into action and used force against the protesters by lobbing teargas shells. The protesters retaliated by pelting stones, resulting in clashes between the two sides.

The clashes also erupted at Anchar area of Soura where seven persons were injured. Scores of locals took to streets in the area and tagged anti-India and pro-freedom protests. The protesters later pelted stones on forces and who in return fired teargas shells. The clashes also erupted in Shaheed Gunj area of Srinagar while evening clashes occurred at Safa Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Bhori Kadal and Nawab Bazar.

The central Kashmir’s Ganderbal and Budgam districts also witnessed post-Friday protests. In Ganderbal, heavy protests rocked Beehama, Manigam, Safapora, Preng and Batwina areas, reports said here. In Budgam, clashes erupted at Ompora, Magam and Mirgund areas between forces and protesters.

According to official sources, clashes between youths and forces erupted at Tahab, Tral, Kakpora, Newa and Lethapora areas of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. At Kakpora, protesters attacked local police post with stones, resulting in outbreak of clashes that continued for over two hours and during which police used teargas shells and pellets. Several people sustained injuries during clashes while a trucker hailing from Kathua was hit by a stone at Lethpora.

The stone-throwing clashes between police and protesters also erupted at Shopian district after Friday congregational prayers. According to sources, the clashes erupted at Vihil and near Hospital in Main Town. In Kulgam district, the clashes occurred in Main Town and in Qaimoh areas. Police lobbed teargas shells towards protesters.

The north Kashmir districts also witnessed massive protests and clashes after Friday prayers. According to local sources, the clashes between forces and protesters erupted at Azad Gunj in Old Town Baramulla and in Sheeri. The police used teargas against the protesters and the clashes continued for several hours. At Rafiabad, the protesters attacked SDPO office with stones while clashes also erupted at Kalsari in Nihalpora village of Pattan in the district.

Massive protests and clashes also erupted at Sopore area of Baramulla district. According to sources, massive protests were held after Friday prayers outside Jamia Masjid Sopore while clashes erupted in Warpora, Main Chowk Sopore, Batapora and Arampora. The protesters pelted stones on Sopore Police Station. Police responded by lobbing teargas shells.

The clashes also raged at Bandipora and Kupwara districts. According to reports, clashes erupted at Papchan, Hajin, Sumbal and in Main Town of Bandipora between protesters and forces. The forces responded by lobbing teargas and pepper shells. In Kupwara, massive clashes erupted at Aloosa and at Hatmulla. Several persons sustained injuries in these clashes.

According to a police official, the situation in Valley remained under control on Friday. “However, there were stone-pelting incidents and protest rallies in all the 10 districts,” he said. (GNS)

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