Pre-dawn violence left one policeman dead and 12 others injured in two separate incidents in the Kashmir valley on Saturday.
In the first incident, suspected militants hurled grenades and opened fire on a police team around 2.30 am in the midst of clashes between the police and protesters at Sopore’s Chota Bazaar.
“Militants lobbed a grenade and fired indiscriminately on a police party which was tackling a stone-throwing mob in Sopore,” said Srinagar-based spokesman of the police zonal headquarters.
Constable Mohammad Syed Khan was killed in the attack and four police personnel were injured. “The injured were shifted to hospitals where their condition is said to be stable,” said the spokesman.
Kashmir on Saturday night was observing Shab-i-Qadr — a night-long prayer that is held in the last week of Islamic month of Ramzan.
Dozens of devotees assembled in parts of Sopore and attacked security forces with stones.
“Miscreants pelted stones on police and CRPF bunkers. The police exhibited utmost restraint and did not retaliate as there was every apprehension of civilian casualties,” said the spokesman.
Public property was also destroyed by the protesters. Two protesters received smoke-shell injuries.
In a separate incident in Kashmir’s north eastern district of Ganderbal, eight policemen were injured when a mob attacked them.
The protesters were apparently unhappy with the police after a youth was caught in a compromising position with a woman earlier in the day.
The mob burnt down the youth’s bike, but the police dispersed the mob and ensured the youth was safe.
Unhappy, the mob turned on the police.
Fierce stone pelting continued till late night in Tulmulla area of Ganderbal and the police had to ask for reinforcement from Srinagar.
Four people have been arrested and a curfew has been imposed in the area.