A spontaneous shutdown coupled with streets protests against execution of Saddam Hussain crippled normal life in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. While the protestors remained mostly peaceful, police had to fire tear smokes hells and resort to cane charge to quell the demonstrators at Gawkadal, Misumma and Rajouri Kadal in capital Srinagar. Over two dozen persons including six policemen sustained injuries in the clashes.
No terrorist or political group had called for any strike. Yet the shopkeepers shuttered their shops. The transporters kept their vehicles off the roads bringing down the attendance in government and corporate offices to minimal. The functioning in the courts also came to a grinding halt as most of the lawyers also joined the strike.
While in Srinagar the protestors took to streets after Friday prayers in the afternoon, at Pulwama in south Kashmir, the demonstrators occupied streets right from the morning. Chanting anti-America and anti-Bush slogans they started from the main market and passed through interior parts of the town. The protest march swelled into over 5000 later. Protest demonstrations were held in other parts of the district Shopian, Zainapora, Litter, Niloora, Tahab and Wasoora. Burning of effigy of George Bush was common theme in all the protest marches.
Anti-America demonstrations were also held at Chadoora in central district Budgam, Sopore, Anantnag, Sumbal, Bijbehara, Shangus and several other parts of the Valley.
In capital Srinagar the protestors indulged in pitched battle with police at Maisumma, Nowhatta, Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal and Gaw Kadal. Police sources said that over two dozen persons including SHO of Safa Kadal Police Station and other five policemen were injured. Police fired tear smoke shells and resorted to cane charge to quell the agitators.
Earlier 13 persons were injured in clashes with police at Nowhatta and Gojwara parts of the interior Srinagar during pro-Saddam and anti-America protests on Thursday.