Srinagar: Clashes erupted in several areas of Kashmir valley on Friday in protest against the killing of three youths in Chadoora by government forces on Tuesday.
The Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yaseen Malik had called for protests against the killings.
Tens of hundreds of police and CRPF troopers had been deployed in flashpoints to prevent demonstrations. However, despite such massive deployment, protests and clashes occurred in the valley.
As soon as Friday prayers were over at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, youths carrying posters calling for boycott of the upcoming parliamentary polls demonstrated at Nowhatta and shouted anti-government and pro-freedom slogans.
In Maisuma, pro-freedom leaders tried to march towards Lal Chowk but they were stopped by police, triggering clashes between government forces and youth. A minor clashe broke out in Kaka Sarai area.
In Rangreth, people clashed with the forces against the killing of one of the three youths, Ishfaq Wani, who belonged to the area. After offering Fateh to the slain youth, people demonstrated on streets but the forces fired teargas shells into the demonstration.
The fiercest clashes were witnessed in Sopore town of Baramulla district. During the clashes, a policeman was injured. The forces used teargas canisters, stun grenades and chilli grenades to disperse the protesters.
The residents of the town complained they including elderly poeple and kids felt suffocated because of smoke from teargas canisters and chilli grenades.
At Hydepora Jamia Masjid, a protest demonstration led by Hurriyat Conference leader Peer Saiffullah was held. Saifullah urged people to stay away from polls.
In south Kashmir town of Bijbehara, police fired tear smoke shells to disperse protesters who shouted pro-freedom slogans. They also pelted the forces with stones.
Hundreds of people took out a peaceful protest rally in Khudwani and Quimoo townships of Kulgam district. A militant, Tawseef Ahmad, who was killed during a gunfight at Chadoora on Tuesday, hailed from Kulgam. The three civilians were shot dead when they were trying to save him during the gunfight.
Amid a complete shutdown for the third consecutive day, pro-freedom protests were also held at Yaripora, the native place of the slain militant. Witnesses said hundreds of people after offering Friday prayers at different mosques of the town marched on the streets of the town.
The people later visited the family of slain militant to express solidarity with his family.
In Anantnag, a protest rally was held after Friday congregational prayers. The rally was led by Umat-e-Islami chief Qazi Yasir. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
Reports of pro-freedom protests and clashes were also received from Tral township.
Locals said that police personnel chased away protesters and during the process ransacked several shops and residential houses in the area. The protesters were shouting slogans against the recent killing of three youngsters during an encounter in Chadoora area of central Kashmir.
The court road area, which is at a stone’s throw from the police station and the CRPF camp, has emerged as a new battle-ground in the town.
A police official from the area denied charges of ransacking houses and shops. He said the damages, if any, were caused by the stone-pelters.
Sources said protests were also held at Prichoo area of Pulwama in south Kashmir. Locals alleged that forces damaged dozens of vehicles in the area.
Clashes were also reported form Palhalan area of Pattan after Friday prayers. Local sources said the protesters tried to march towards the highway but were stopped by the forces.