Curbs, protests continue in Sopore

Baramulla: At least six persons were injured Friday in violent clashes in Sopore town of this north Kashmir district, even as curfew was re-imposed in parts of the town by the authorities fearing wide spread protests against the killing of a youth in firing on Monday.
Arshid Ahmad Shah, 22, a cab driver, was killed while four others sustained injuries when government forces opened fire while breaking up a pro-freedom protest in Krankshivan locality of Sopore,
hours after the 18-hour gun-battle ended with the killing of LeT commander Mehmood Bhai. The killing had triggered strong protests in the town with pro-freedom groups calling for a complete shutdown across the Valley.
Reports said Friday that strict curfew was enforced across the Sopore Township amid apprehensions of widespread protests over the killing of Arshid. Wearing bullet proof vests and carrying assault rifles, CRPF and policemen kept a constant vigil in Khushal Matoo, Batpora, Arampora, Chankhan, Main Chowk, Naseem Bagh, Krankshivan, BabaYousuf and other parts of the town and confined the residents indoors. The forces, reports said, had also erected barricades and laid razor wire in volatile areas to keep protesters at bay.
“The forces didn’t allow us to offer prayers. They enforced a strict curfew and prevented us from venturing outside. The forces has also sealed off lanes and by lanes with concertina wire to restrict the movement of residents,” Gulzar Ahmad, a local said.
A senior police officer told Kashmir Reader that curfew was re-imposed in parts of the town amid apprehensions of post-Friday prayer protests.
“There was no curfew in areas like Noor Bagh, Bus Stand, Iqbal Market, Naseem Bagh, Model town and other areas. People offered Fridayprayers in almost all areas of the civil lines,” the official said.
Sub District Magistrate (SDM), Sopore, Khursheed Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Reader that no curfew was imposed in the town. However, the forces, he said, were deployed to maintain law and order situation in the town.
However, groups of youth after the congregational Friday prayers took to streets and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. Chanting slogans, angry protesters pelted stones and rocks at the forces triggering off fierce clashes. The forces, reports said, burst teargas canisters after they failed to disperse stone pelting youth with batons. At least six people, reports said, sustained minor injuries in the clashes that continued till late evening.