Violence, arson during curfew relaxation in Srinagar (Lead)

August 13th, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 13 (IANS) A policeman was beaten and his motorcycle set afire as mobs attacked three police stations, destroyed a paramilitary bunker and torched a petrol tanker during curfew relaxation here Wednesday when three more people, wounded in Tuesday’s firing, succumbed to their injuries in hospitals. Three people injured in Tuesday’s police and army firing who were in hospitals in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir succumbed to their injuries in the morning, sources said. With this the death toll in Tuesday’s violence reached 15.

Mourners carrying the bodies of two dead took processions to Qamarwari and Nowhatta areas of the city where the dead used to stay.

The third dead was injured in firing incident by the army in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

Curfew, imposed in the Kashmir valley after large-scale violence Monday when thousands tried to march towards Pakistan, was relaxed Wednesday first from 8 a.m to 11 a.m. The relaxation was later extended till 2 p.m.

Mobs resorted to violence during the relaxation period.

Official sources said an angry mob stopped a policeman driving a motorcycle in Safa Kadal area of the old city during the curfew relaxation period.

“Although the cop was in civvies, the mob identified him by his identity card. They set fire to his motorcycle and beat him up mercilessly,” a police officer said.

Agitated protesters gathered near Safa Kadal, Rainawari and Bana Mohalla police stations of old Srinagar and pelted stones at them, said another police officer.

“We are maintaining utmost restraint and trying to ensure that the situation is brought under control with minimum use of force,” the police officer told IANS.

The officer said ten people have been injured so far in clashes between the police and the security forces here Wednesday.

A mob of protesters torched a petrol tanker at Bemina on the city outskirts during the curfew relaxation period.

Another mob destroyed a paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Karan Nagar area one kilometre from the city centre Lal Chowk, but the CRPF troopers did not retaliate.

People also started taking out processions in the old city area.

A large number of people gathered in north Kashmir’s Sopore town during the curfew relaxation. No report of violence has come in from there so far.

Reports reaching here from other parts of the valley said people were seen buying essential supplies during the curfew relaxation period.

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