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Clashes again erupt as curfew relaxed in Srinagar (Intro Roundup)

Srinagar, July 9 (Calcutta Tube) At least 37 people, including 20 policemen, were injured as mobs pelted stones at the security forces in the Kashmir Valley after the Friday prayers and later when curfew was relaxed in Srinagar to enable the people observe the Shab-e-Meraj religious festival.

As the authorities announced that curfew throughout the city was relaxed with effect from 8 p.m. Friday till Saturday morning, mobs took to streets in the old city’s Khwaja Bazaar area and started pelting stones on the security men.

‘Two youth were injured in these clashes and one of them identified as Anis Ahmad was shifted to the Soura Medical Institute where doctors said the victim had sustained a rubber bullet injury in his leg’, a senior police officer said here.

Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai had announced in New Delhi that there would be no curfew anywhere in Kashmir from Friday evening for the Shab-e-Meraj festival.

The head cleric of Srinagar had Friday appealed to the state government to relax the curfew so that people could observe the Shab-e-Meraj religious festival.

Mufti Azaam Bashir-ud-Din also appealed to the people to perform their religious duties connected with Shab-e-Meraj (anniversary of the night-time ascension of Prophet to heaven from Jerusalem and marked by visits to graves of family and friends to pray for their souls) peacefully.

After the fresh eruption of violence in the city, police said the situation would be reviewed Saturday morning and a decision taken whether the curfew would be reimposed or not.

Earlier, youth also resorted to violence in the Hazratbal area of the city prompting security men to use batons and tear smoke shells to disperse the violent protesters.

‘Some youth resorted to stone pelting in the area after which the curfew was reimposed there,’ the officer said.

Elsewhere in the Valley, 35 people were injured in violent incidents in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and south Kashmir’s Kakpora and Shopian towns.

One person suffered a rubber bullet injury in Baramulla town as a mob resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security men after the Friday prayers.

‘Suhail Ahmad sustained a rubber bullet injury as the security forces stepped in to quell violence and defiance of the restrictions imposed there. The injured youth was shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment where doctors said he was out of danger. Eleven security men including an officer were injured in Baramulla,’ an official said.

‘Another angry mob attacked the south Kashmir Kakpora police station and tried to torch it. A deputy commandant of the Central Reserve police force (CRPF), an officer of the state police are among the one dozen security men injured in the Kakpora incident where the mob was finally dispersed by the security men,’ the officer said.

Miscreants also torched a hut of the forest department in Shopian town.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has convened an all-party meet here Monday to reach out to all the mainstream political parties to end the cycle of violence in the Valley.

However, Mehbooba Mufti, president of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), told reporters here she would boycott the meeting as a protest against what she called the mishandling of the situation by the Omar Abdullah government.

The authorities issued fresh curfew passes to the local media persons to enable them discharge their professional duties here.

Because of the cancellation of all previously issued curfew passes, the local media persons could not discharge their professional duties and the publication of all the newspapers had been stopped by their managements for the last two days.

The army was requisitioned by the civil administration for assistance here Wednesday, a day after widespread violence in the city following the recovery of a teenager’s body. The victim’s relatives allege that he had been forcibly drowned by security forces during clashes.

Three more people, including a 25-year old woman, were killed in Tuesday’s violence. The army carried out flag marches at many places in the city in the last two days here.

However, no flag march was carried out anywhere in Srinagar by the army Friday.

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