As violence erupted at two places in Kashmir valley on the occasion of Eid on Monday, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq accused the government of provoking people on the festival by incarcerating the entire separatist leadership and banning their speeches.
Major violence erupted immediately after Eid prayers at Srinagar's old city area of Eidgah. Dozens of devotees, who participated in the prayers earlier, stopped a police vehicle and set it ablaze. At least three policemen received injuries when the crowd attacked them with stones and petrol bomb.
The protesters tried to snatch weapon of the policemen who were beaten up badly. Several devotees were also injured in security forces' action.
The protesters were angry against the authorities for not allowing the Mirwaiz, who is also a head priest, to lead the prayers. The Mirwaiz traditionally led prayers at Eidgah where most population from the old city turn up on the occasion of Eid.
"This is complete highhandedness of the authorities, even Eid, an important Muslim festival, is not allowed to be celebrated. This is highly condemnable," the Mirwaiz told the Hindustan Times from his residence in Nageen area where he is placed under house arrest since Sunday.
"It seems the government is deliberately provoking people by keeping their leadership away from them. The intimidation cannot restore peace in the state. Today crackdown on pro-freedom leaders exposed the government before the international community," said Mirwaiz, adding, "Hurriyat didn't issue any orders for the protest."
He accused the government for silencing the voices of people. "Today's attempt is nothing but to bar us from keeping our view point before the people. This is not a democratic approach," said Mirwaiz.
Violent protests also erupted in north Kashmir's Sopore district where, immediately after Eid prayers in the morning, protesters started pelting stones at security forces in the town, 55 km away from Srinagar. There we no reports of injuries.
People were protesting against the government's clampdown on hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is also under house arrest since Sunday.
Geelani was supposed to pray at ruling National Conference-run grand shrine of Hazratbal in Srinagar. Several separatist leaders, including JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, are not allowed to move out of their houses.
The police claim it's taking precautionary measures at the behest of local administration.
Meanwhile, Eid congregations in other parts of the valley were peaceful with people exchanging greetings and visiting relatives as per local customs.