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Protesters defy Srinagar curfew

Undeclared curfew to prevent Muharram processions leads to clashes,many injured

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
December 5, 2011 1:46:34 am

In a surprise move,the state government on Sunday imposed undeclared curfew in most parts of Srinagar city to prevent Muharram processions. And as people defied the restrictions,the police used force to disperse them resulting in injuries to several mourners.

On Sunday morning,the state police imposed restrictions on civilian movement. All roads leading to city centre Lalchowk were closed,using iron barricades and concertina wires at several places. The policemen manning the roads didn’t allow vehicles and pedestrian movement.

The strict restrictions on civilian movement were also imposed in old city that has a sizeable population of Shiite Muslims. All roads leading to the downtown city were closed and people were not allowed to move.

In the past,too,the police imposed restrictions to prevent Muharram processions,but they were limited to certain pockets of the city mostly inhabited by Shiite Muslims. This year,however,the restrictions were widespread and severe and people weren’t allowed to move. The police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel,in riot gears,were deployed in heavy numbers on roads.

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However,in the afternoon,a group of mourners defied the police restrictions and assembled at Jehangir Chowk. As the mourners marched ahead,the police and CRPF resorted to cane-charge and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the mourners. More than two dozen mourners were injured in the police action while several of them were detained by the police.

Resisting the police action,the mourners marched ahead and when they reached Maisuma — the stronghold of pro-independence leader Yasin Malik — they were joined by more youth. When the police again tried to stop the mourners using tear smoke shells,they pelted stones at the police and CRPF.

The clashes between the mourners and police continued till late in the afternoon.

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The separatist organisations in the Valley have condemned the imposition of curfew and termed it as “interference in religious affairs”. “It is surprising that the government that rules works day and night for Amarnath yatra and imposes restrictions on the holy days of Muslims,” said Bashir Ahmad Bhat,JKLF chairman in-charge . “This is interference in religion”.

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First published on: 05-12-2011 at 01:46:34 am

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