Militants flee cordon in Pulwama; clashes after Friday prayers

Militants flee cordon in Pulwama; clashes after Friday prayers

SRINAGAR: Militants fled away after a brief exchange of fire with the security forces in Lassipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday morning.
Local sources said the Batnoor area of the district was cordoned off early in the morning. “There was a brief exchange of fire but the militants fled from the spot,” sources said. The government forces later cordoned off the area but no arrests were made.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out in several areas of Kashmir Valley after congregational prayers were held on Friday afternoon even as leaders from the pro-freedom camp were barred to hold protests called after the prayers.
Scores of youth and government forces clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel in the old city areas including Nowhatta and several parts of the city outskirts. Protests were also reported from Sopore in north Kashmir following which the government forces had to resort to shelling to disperse the protesters.
Ahead of the protest rally, called by the joint resistance leadership after Friday prayers, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest. The chief cleric was also barred from deleivering his weekly sermon at the central Jamia Masjid.
After the prayers were held inside Jamia Masjid, the locals led a demonstration against the killing of a 7-year- old girl in Kupwara earlier on Wednesday.
The protesters, carrying placards, assembled outside the mosque chanting pro-freedom slogans. They also called for the boycott of upcoming by-polls.
Senior pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani and general secretary Hurriyat (G) Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai were also put under house arrest, according to party spokesperson, who added the police raided the residences Hurriyat activists Mohammad Ashraf Laya and Omer Adil Dar.

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