NIA arrests trigger protests in Kashmir, undeclared siege cripples old city



Clashes and protests erupted at various places in Kashmir after the Friday congregational prayers in local Mosques while restrictions were imposed in Srinagar parts to thwart the protests against civilian killings and NIA arrests.

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had asked people to stage peaceful protests against the suspension of life sentences of army soldiers involved in Machhil fake encounter and arresting pro-freedom leaders.

Pertinently, a military court has reportedly suspended the life sentences and granted bail to five army men, including two officers, convicted for extrajudicial killing of three civilians near Line of Control (LoC) in 2010.

The district administration Srinagar had imposed undeclared restrictions in Srinagar areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police Stations including Nowhatta, Maharaj Gunj and others.

Witnesses said that heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces were made on Srinagar roads. The government forces had also sealed the main roads by erecting concertina wires to thwart the vehicular and pedestrian movement there.

Earlier, the forces had launched Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in old city’s Eid Gah area, following the inputs about the presence of militants there.

However, it was called off after almost two hours.

Meanwhile, following the call given by JRL, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front (JKLF) activists and leaders today staged protest. The protesters raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. They also condemned the arrests made by National Investigating Agency (NIA).

The Hurriyat Conference (M) activists also staged protest at Aali Masjid Eidgah during which slogans in favor of Azadi were raised.

Reports of protest after Friday prayers were received from other areas as well.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted between youth and forces in Sopore town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district after the Friday congregational prayers ended in the Masjids.

Witnesses said that as soon as the prayers ended in the Sopore Jamia Masjid, the youth took to street and chanted pro-freedom slogans.

The youth also pelted stones on the forces deployed in the area who resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse them.

Meanwhile, a peaceful protest rally was held in Beerwah town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district against the killing of Tanveer Ahmad by army last week.

The protesters were raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The protestor later headed towards the martyrs’ graveyard to offer fateh prayers at Tanveer’s grave. Wani was killed after army opened fire in Beerwah town last Friday.

A spontaneous shutdown was observed in the town after the weekly congregational prayers.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Range, Munir Khan told a local news gathering agency that the situation was under control and peaceful.

“Barring Sopore where some 20 youths protested, rest of the places in Kashmir remained peaceful,” Khan said.

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