Violence touches Kashmir after Eid-ul-Fitr prayers

September 11, 2010,  Srinagar (Calcutta Tube): Kashmir Valley once again shakes by violence with protestors attacking and setting on fire police buildings in Srinagar on Saturday after Eid-ul-Fitr prayers.

[ReviewAZON asin=”143894845X” display=”inlinepost”]The first incident took place in the lawns of Hazratbal Shrine when a violent mob attacked and set the police barracks on fire. Some police vehicles were also set on fire at Hazratbal.

A mob also attacked and set on fire the offices of Crime Branch and the chief engineer PDD in Srinagar. Police opened fire in the air in both the cases to disperse the crowd. However, there are no reports of any casualties.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has blamed the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for the fresh bursts of violent protests in the Valley on the day of Eid-ul-fitr.

Reacting to the Chief Minister, the Mirwaiz said it was people’s anger that was playing out on the street though he would not justify the violence.

Police blamed general secretary Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Muslim League headed by underground leader Masrat Alam Bhat for carrying out the incidents of arson as part of a pre-planned conspiracy to disrupt Eid celebrations.

Earlier in a day, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was leading a massive procession from Eiddgah to the Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar.

Mirwaiz gave a surprise call of March at Eidgah grounds during Eid prayers. He had asked people to stage peaceful protests.

Authorities usually disallow separatist protest rallies and impose strict curfew restrictions to prevent them. However, in wake of Eid festival, police and paramilitary troopers were not deployed on the roads.

Thousands of the people participated in the separatist march and reached Lal Chowk.

According to Agence India Press reports, people assembled in Lal Chowk around the clock tower and hoisted green flags atop it. Mirwaiz was joined by JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik in the march.

This rally was held after special Eid prayers to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting month, thousands people poured into the streets from mosques in Srinagar, waving green Islamic flags and chanting “Go India, go back” and “Kashmir which has been nurtured by our blood belongs to us”.

Hundreds of trucks and buses brought people, many of them sitting on roofs and hanging out of windows, for Eid prayers which later turned into an independence rally.

“Mirwaiz Umar Farooq incited the situation by leading a procession to Lal Chowk from Eid Gah taking the advantage of the Eid congregation and thus vitiated the Eid celebration in Srinagar,” a police statement said.

Soon after a protest rally youth barged into the office of Chief Engineer Power Development Department (PDD) near Exhibition Crossing here and set it on fire, said police.

The adjacent building housing the J&K Crime Branch office was also engulfed in flames within no time and the blaze spread rapidly as the building is mostly made of wood.

Police fired warning shots in air to disperse the protesters who set ablaze government buildings.

Columns of smoke were seen emanating from the building amid flames. Authorities rushed fire fighters to the spot.

Earlier, a mob set on fire a police barrack and a vehicle of the police department outside the Harzratbal Shrine following which security forces had to open fire.

Soon after Eid-ul-Fitr prayers, a group of people attacked the police barrack in the lawns of Hazratbal and set it on fire. They also set ablaze a police vehicle.

Police opened fire to disperse the mob and prevent any further damage to public property, police said, adding seven persons including three cops were hurt in the clashes.

Meanwhile, scores of people took to the streets in this north Kashmir town and staged a massive pro-freedom demonstration, locals said.

They said that protesters assembled at different places in the town and staged demonstrations. However, protesters pelted stones at the CRPF camp at Main Chowk following which troopers resorted to aerial firing and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse the protesters in the police action a youth Imtiyaz Ahmed sustained critical injuries.

In other side, hundreds of people from Kunzer, Qazipora, Chandiloora, Druroo, Rarem and Gokhama assembled at Kunzer Chowk and staged a massive demonstration.

Protesters were raising pro-freedom slogans. They also raised slogans against Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir.

As protesters were marching ahead a huge contingent police and paramilitary CRPF appeared on the spot and resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke canisters and resorted to aerial firing in the police action at least 8 persons were wounded. Later protesters pelted stones at Kunzer Police Station and set ablaze guard post at Kunzer Bridge.

Three-month-long protests have killed 70 people so far. (AIPTV)
by Sheikh Imran Bashir, Agence India Press

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