Scores injured one among them critical
Srinagar: Defying curfew restrictions, massive pro-freedom protests and clashes broke out in the north Kashmir town of Baramulla on Tuesday injuring three civilians one of them critical.
Eyewitnesses said that the trouble broke out when youth pelted stones at the cavalcade of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramulla, Mansoor Untoo near Azad Gunj this afternoon.
“His guards resorted to aerial firing and teargas shelling and some of the civilians received grave injuries,” Eyewitnesses wishing anonymity said.
However SSP Baramulla told Agence India Press that some of the local youth pelted stones on his vehicle when he along with his Deputy Superintendent of Police was out to locate a place for some additional police posts in the area.
“I have a hearline fracture in my right arm and my DSP too is injured. We tried to disperse the protesters very tactfully but some of them got hurt,” he said adding “some of the youth chased my vehicle and tried to throw the stones inside it and in response to that they got injured.”
Meanwhile fearing violence after Separatist harliner Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam’s arrest government imposed strict curfew in old city areas including four districts of Kashmir.
A police spokesman said curfew has been imposed in Srinagar city, Ganderbal district and Kangan. While as in north Kashmir, Baramulla, Pattan, Palhalan, Kunzar, Tangmarg, Kupwara, Trehgam, Kralpora, Handwara, Kulangam and Chotipora have also been placed under curfew.
However, curfew was later on relaxed in some areas but the situation remained calm. Heavy parties of Police and Paramilitary contingents were seen on the roads checking the credentials of the people.
Authorities apprehended breach of peace in the wake of the arrest of hardline Hurriyat leader.
Alam was arrested from the Tailbal locality on the out skirts of the Srinagar city at his maternal uncle’s house. Reports said he was carrying a cash reward of 10 lakh rupees on his head.
The 39-year-old Bhat had been evading arrest for past four months during which he took over as Geelani’s substitute and would release protest calendars and frequent video messages.
While most Hurriyat (G) senior leaders including party chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani were detained, Bhat went underground and took charge of the protest programme launching the “Quit Jammu and Kashmir Campaign” on June 25. He has played a key role in framing the Hurriyat (G) protest calendars.
“Imposing restrictions and curfews are the only measures we could use, because we have apprehensions that the situation may turn violent across the valley on the arrest of Masrat Alam,” a senior Police official told Agence India Press.
The “Quit Kashmir movement” has been marked by shut-downs and protests by stone pelting protesters and put life on hold in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley for the last four months.
Atleast 111 Kashmiris most of them teenagers have been killed since June in the protests.
Meanwhile, Hardline separatist Leader in a statement issued here condemned the arrest of the party General Secretary (Masrat Alam).
“Arrests are the part and parcel of any revolutionary movement, but government of India on one hand assures of releasing the political prisoners and on the second hand arrests the innocent teenagers students and Political prisoners,” Geelani in a statement said.
“The Movement will not stop with such acts and we will fight till our goals are not achieved,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has announced a range of measures aimed at defusing tension in the valley.
They include appointing mediators to begin a dialogue with people in the valley, re-opening all schools and universities which were closed during recent unrest and pulling down some security bunkers.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since an armed revolt erupted in 1989. (AIP)