Kashmir Valley locked down, curfew back in Srinagar
Srinagar, July 27 (IANS) Curfew was re-imposed in various places in the Kashmir Valley on Wednesday following clashes between protesters and security forces amid heavy rains, hours after a dragging security lockdown was lifted in all areas barring the volatile southern districts.
A police officer said here that angry young men took to the streets and hurled stones at security forces, prompting authorities to re-impose curbs on the movement of people at places where peace was breached.
The government had lifted curfew from various places in the restive valley on Tuesday. But as soon as people were allowed to move, clashes broke out in Srinagar and at some other places in southern Kashmir.
The curfew was, however, not removed from south Kashmir amid fears that a separatist-called march to Kulgam town may trigger more violence.
All link roads and entry points to the south of the valley were closed and no vehicular movement was allowed on the Jammu-Srinagar highway that runs through the region, the worst-hit in the unrest since July 8 which has left nearly 50 people dead and thousands injured.
Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in house detention, defied the restrictions and came out of his residence in upscale Hyderpora neighbourhood.
Police took Geelani, chairman of the hardline Hurriyat Conference faction, into preventive custody. He was briefly lodged at a nearby police station, police said.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat faction, was also detained after he tried to march towards Kulgam, breaking the security cordon around his house here, an aide told IANS.
Earlier, in Srinagar, while curfew was lifted from most parts, the restrictions continued in some parts of the old city where a 61-year-old man died on Tuesday evening after losing control on his two-wheeler during a clash between stone-pelting mobs and security forces.
According to police, the retired government employee was injured in his head after he fell off his motorbike.
The separatists had asked people to start normal activities for some hours from Tuesday afternoon. But angry youths showed up at various places in Srinagar and elsewhere, forcing the shops to remain shut.
The Srinagar protesters, mostly teenagers, blocked main roads, lanes and bylanes in downtown with tree trunks, cement pipes and huge rocks.
They fought pitched battles with police and security forces till late in the night. Such clashes were reported from some 40 places of the old city, according to police.
Security forces exercised restrain and did not use firearms to quell the mobs but fired tear gas and pellet guns. Dozens of youths were injured.