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Valley wakes up to Saddam hanging

Srinagar witnesses sporadic scenes of protests by youth against the US for hanging Saddam, reports Rashid Ahmad.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 20:47 IST

As the Id-ul-Azha celebrations are over, the news of Saddam Hussain's execution has begun to sink in. Srinagar witnessed sporadic scenes of protests on Thursday by agitated youth against the United States for hanging to death the deposed Iraqi president.

The protestors and police fought pitched battle at Nowhatta and Gojwara parts of the interior city in which 13 persons, three of them policemen, were wounded. The protestors pelted stones and bricks on police. They also attacked a police vehicle and damaged it. Police, in return, fired tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge to break the mob. However, when this failed to get the situation in control, the police fired rubber bullets.

The ding-dong battle began soon after a group 500 people, mostly youth with covered faces, chanting anti-America slogans took to streets on Thursday morning. They burnt rubber tubes on roads and blocked the traffic. When police intervened, the agitators took on them.

The protestors also burnt American flag and effigy of the US president George Bush.

Protest demonstrations against America were held at Gaw Kadal and Misumma locality in the civil line areas as well. Most of the shops in the affected-localities remained closed.

A group of Samajwadi Party (SP) supporters held protest demonstration at Pratap Park Press Enclave at Residency Road. They raised slogans against America and burnt the effigy of George Bush.

Saddam Hussain was hanged on Saturday with no reaction in the otherwise volatile Valley. However, the protests began to intensify after Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference, declared Saddam Hussain a "martyr" and appealed for protests after Eid prayers on Monday. The separatist had earlier called the former Iraqi President an "American stooge" and had termed his hanging as "lesson for those people, who follow American agenda."

The mainstream political parties had however unequivocally criticised the Saddam Hussain's execution. The state cabinet called a special meeting to condemn the hanging of former Iraqi President. The opposition National Conference, CPI (M), Panthers' Party and Samajwadi Party had condemned the death to Saddam.

First Published: Jan 04, 2007 18:37 IST