Police fire tear gas to control clashes, stone pelting as Kashmir celebrates Eid
Over a dozen people were injured in clashes in Sopore town of Baramulla district of north Kashmir as many shouted pro-freedom slogans and pelted stones after morning prayers for Eid on Monday.
Police and witnesses said many took to streets in Baramulla district, parts of south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian districts and the old city of the state’s summer capital Srinagar.
Residents in the old city of Srinagar said protesters threw stones at security forces after prayers concluded in Eidgah, where the biggest congregation of people was reported in the city. The forces responded by shelling tear gas.
Officials at the police control room (PCR) here, however, said Eid prayers were held peacefully and refused to confirm any clashes after the prayers. “We have no reports as of now,” an official manning the PCR said.
In Sopore, clashes erupted as security forces used tear gas and pellets after protesters tried to march from the Eidgah towards the main market area.
Police confirmed they resorted to tear gas shelling after few men hurled stones at the main Chowk. “The stone pelting is still going on intermittently,” an officer at Sopore PCR said.
Similar protests were reported in Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam, and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir. There were clashes between the protesters and forces in many parts in these districts.
Police said the protesters threw stones at CRPF personnel in Janglat Mandi area of Anantnag. “We did not use much force,” said an official at Anantnag PCR.
The authorities had placed top separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under house arrest, fearing that their presence at large Eid gatherings could spark violence, the officials said. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has been lodged at Central Jail, Srinagar.
This year’s Ramzan has been the bloodiest in the recent past with 43 people — soldiers, policemen, civilians and militants — killed since May 28, the day the Muslim holy month began.
The most brutal of the deaths was the lynching of deputy superintendent of police MA Pandith outside Jamia Masjid here where he was stripped and beaten. The Jammu and Kashmir police had asked its officers to avoid prayers in public places after Pandith’s lynching.