Friday unrest, stone-pelting continue in Kashmir, scores injured
Yet again, Friday remained a tense day in the Kashmir Valley as the authorities clamped down on separatists and their supporters in Srinagar and south Kashmir.Updated: Jul 03, 2015 21:44 IST
Yet again, Friday remained a tense day in the Kashmir Valley as the authorities clamped down on separatists and their supporters in Srinagar and south Kashmir.
In the morning, hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani was detained outside his house in Srinagar's Hyderpora area. He was scheduled to address a Friday congregation in south Kashmir's Anantnag district. It would have been his first such public gathering since May 1, where Pakistan flags were unfurled by participants in Tral area.
"This exposes the lie of director general of police K Rajendra that Geelani sahib is a free man," said Hurriyat spokesman.
The Hurriyat had assured the state government to hold "the most disciplined and peaceful rally in every respect."
"It would have not disturbed the law and order situation," said the spokesman.
The news of Geelani's detention, however, sparked violent protests in Anantnag, 60 km south of Srinagar. Scores of protesters were injured when they clashed with security personnel after the Friday prayers. They were raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Massive clashes broke out in Anantnag's Lal Chowk area where several smoke shells were burst and police vehicles chased the protesters to quell protest.
In Srinagar's old city, unlike the last Friday when police allegedly fired smoke shells inside the mosque, the deployment was made a little away from the entrance gates.
However, protesters clashed with the security forces away from the mosque gates.
Earlier in the day, moderate Hurriyat chairman and Valley's head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq accused the authorities of making attempt "to dilute the centrality and sanctity of historic Jamia Masjid."
"Kashmiris should stay vigilant against those forces who want to weaken the significance of the mosque, which has historically represented the religious, political, social and cultural sentiments and aspirations of the people of Kashmir," said the Mirwaiz.
He said the Jamia Masjid's pulpit has always raised the voice on behalf of the suppressed people, especially since 1931.
"Despite the opposition of people to the deployment of large number of forces outside the mosque, the government paid no heed to it and continued with this ploy to provoke people and vitiate the atmosphere," he alleged.
The Mirwaiz also strongly denounced the continuous house arrest of senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, especially barring him from offering Friday prayers. "It's blatant interference in religious rights and dictatorial," he alleged.