Protests erupt in Srinagar as Yasin Malik is detained

Srinagar, Oct 20 (IANS) Protests erupted here after separatist leader and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was taken into preventive detention by Jammu and Kashmir police in Anantnag district on Tuesday.

Malik was visiting Batangoo village in Anantnag to express solidarity with the family of Zahid Rasool Bhat, one of the two victims of the October 9 petrol bomb attack on a Kashmir-bound truck at Udhampur in Jammu province.

The truck parked on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Udhampur was attacked on October 9 with a petrol bomb.

Two people in the truck – Bhat and Showkat Ahmad Dar – sustained serious burn injuries and were being treated in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital where Bhat died on Sunday.

On Tuesday, JKLF chief Yasin Malik was leading a protest rally from Batangoo village to main market of Anantnag when police intervened.

He was accompanied by Javaid Mir, leader of another JKLF faction, and Shabir Dar of Muslim Conference.

Malik earlier announced a 24-hour hunger strike in Batangoo village to protest Udhampur petrol bomb attack.

As the protestors, led by Mali, started to march from Batangoo village, police intercepted them and took Malik and his associates into custody.

“We were detained by police and lodged in Anantnag police station. Some of our associates got injured in the police action,” Mir told IANS by phone.

As the news of Malik’s detention spread, large number of youth took to streets in Maisuma, adjacent to city centre Lal chowk, and pelted stones on security forces, who lobbed tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors.

As the protests and clashes were going on, shopkeepers downed shutters and traffic came to halt in the area.

South Kashmir is observing shutdown for the second consecutive day on Tuesday to condemn Zahid’s death.

Political parties across the board in Kashmir have expressed shock and grief over Zahid’s death. The state government has announced compensation to the victim’s family.

Kashmir Valley on Monday observed a shutdown called by separatist leaders and traders to condemn the youth’s death.

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