Massive clashes erupted in various parts of Kashmir post Friday prayers wherein youth fought pitched battles with police triggering chaos in the areas.
Witnesses said that clashes broke out between protesters and government forces in old city areas of Srinagar post Friday prayers.
As soon as the Congregational prayers ended at historic Jamia Masjid, a group of youth started shouting pro-freedom slogans at Nowhatta.
However, the Police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area swung into action and tried to pacify the protesting youth who however started pelting stones on them. Police retaliated by using batons and lobbed tear smoke shells to disperse the youth, triggering clashes in the area.
A police official said the youth assembled in the area and resorted to stone pelting on police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area.
Meanwhile, reports said the protesting youth were shouting pro Pakistan slogans and also raised slogans favouring militants.
“They were shouting slogans in favor of Hizbul Mujahidin commander, Sabzar Ahmad Bhat,” reports said.
Reports said that a local photojournalist, working with a local daily suffered minor injuries in the clashes.
“He was rushed to a local dispensary and provided necessary medical aid,” witnesses said.
Meanwhile, massive clashes also erupted in Sopore town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district after youth took out a protest rally against the killing of two militants in an encounter with government forces on Thursday.
Witnesses said scores of youth assembled near Markazi Jamia Masjid Sopore post Friday prayers and started shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
As the youth started to take out a protest march, the police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area swung into action and tried to disperse the protesting youth which resulted in clashes from both the sides.
“Stone pelting protests erupted in the area after forces resorted to tear gas shelling to prevent the youth from marching ahead,” witnesses said.
They said earlier a complete shutdown was observed in Zaingeer belt of Sopore area to mourn death of two local militants.
Two militants – Aijaz Ahmad Mir and Basharat Ahmad Shiekh – residents of Brath Kalan and Bomai villages of the Zainageer belt, were killed in an encounter with government forces in Nathipora on Thursday morning.
All the shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport was also thin on roads in Zaingeer area of Sopore town.
However, routine business was going on as usual in rest of the town.
The mobile phone services which were barred yesterday, were also restored in the entire north Kashmir by the concerned authorities.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people were seen heading towards the villages to offer fateha (prayer) to the slain militants and express solidarity with their families.
Meanwhile, intense clashes erupted in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town on Friday against the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and his associate in a gunfight last Saturday.
Witnesses said that youth resorted to stone pelting on police and Paramilitary forces deployed in old town localities of Reshi Bazar and Lal Chowk to express their anger at the killings.
However, the forces responded by lobbing tear gas shells on the protesters, triggering clashes in the Anantnag town.
Clashes continued in Anantnag till late evening forcing troopers to use pellets to disperse the protestors.
Reports said that several youth were injured in the forces action. The injured have been identified as Mohammed Hussain Shah R/o Moomin Abad (Anantnag), Faazil Salati R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Showket Bhat R/o Anachidoora, Islamabad (Anantnag), Bashir Ahmed R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Javaid Ahmed Ragga R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Aamir R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Nisar Ahmed Misger R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Aamir R/o Reshi Bazar, Islamabad (Anantnag), Umair R/o Mattan Chowk, Islamabad (Anantnag), Zahoor R/o Qazigund, Islamabad (Anantnag), Qumair R/o Malknag, Islamabad (Anantnag), Danish R/o Malaknag, Islamabad (Anantnag) and Fayaz Ahmed R/o Danter, Islamabad .
(With inputs from Bilal Ahmad and Jehangeer Ganai)