Over a dozen injured in Kashmir clashes

Srinagar, Feb 20 (IANS) Over a dozen people, including policemen, were injured in clashes between stone-pelting protesters and the security forces in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir Saturday.

Stone-pelting youth engaged the police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in pitched battles in Srinagar’s Maisuma area and Sopore and Baramulla towns in north Kashmir.

Police used batons and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.

‘Over a dozen people, including policemen and protesters, sustained minor injuries in these clashes, but the overall law and order situation remained peaceful today,’ a senior police officer said.

In Baramulla, a mob that attempted to torch a police vehicle was chased away.

‘The miscreants were chased away and they were prevented from setting the police vehicle on fire,’ a senior police officer said here.

The authorities enforced strict restrictions to maintain law and order in Srinagar in the wake of a shutdown called by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to protest alleged human rights violations.

Curfew-like restrictions remained in force in five police station areas of Srinagar’s old city and the Maisuma area.

Life, however, remained paralysed with markets, banks and government offices remaining closed and public transport off the roads in Srinagar and other district headquarters of the Valley because of the shutdown call, which evoked a near total response.

Skeletal private transport plied in the uptown areas of Srinagar Saturday.

Meanwhile, the gunfight between the two militants and security forces in Sopore town ended after the holed up guerrillas reportedly managed to escape from the cordon that the security forces had laid around a house in the town’s Warpora area.

‘Searches are on in the area to trace the militants,’ police said.

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