Five injured in Kashmir clashes (Lead)

August 6th, 2010 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 6 (IANS) Five people were injured, one of them critically, in clashes with security forces across Kashmir Valley Friday as protesters again defied curfew and came out on the streets.
Three protesters were injured, including one seriously, when security forces fired on a mob attacking a police picket in Sopore town, while two were injured in central Kashmir’s Budgam district as police carried out a baton charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.

Protests were also held in various areas of Srinagar where some stray incidents of violence occurred, but no casualties were reported. Three companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), inducted in the city Thursday, carried out flag marches in Dalgate and Nowpura areas of the city.

Meanwhile, as curfew continued in Srinagar and in other major towns, people in several areas complained of an acute shortage of food items and medicines.

According to police, a large mob surrounded the Warpora police picket in Sopore in the afternoon and started pelting stones at the security men inside.

“As mobs refused to disperse after baton charges, tear smoke and warning shots in the air, security men inside the Warpora picket opened fire in self-defence. Three people were injured in the firing and they have been shifted to Srinagar for treatment,” a senior police officer said here.

Doctors at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences SKIMS) said one of the injured youth, identified as Rameez Ahmad, had sustained a critical injury.

“He is being operated now, but his condition is critical,” one of the doctors attending on him said.

The other two are reported to be out of danger, police here said.

Two youth were injured when security forces used batons and tear smoke shells to bring unruly mobs under control in Badgam.

In Srinagar, protests were held in Batmaloo, Narwara, Humhama, Barthana, Lawaipora and Anchar areas.

Protesters burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in the Anchar area. In Bagat-e-Kanipora area on the outskirts of the city, protesters torched the local Panchayat building.

Protests were also held in south Kashmir’s Shopian, Kulgam, Rajpora, Shangus and Anantnag towns though the intensity of these protests was less compared to those held during the last eight days.

Protests were also held at Kralpora, Handwara, Langat, Palhalan, Pattan, Dangiwacha and Kralpora areas in north Kashmir.

Authorities continued the Valley-wide indefinite curfew Friday in order to prevent violent protests those have so far claimed 48 lives and left more than 250 others including security men injured.

“Curfew continued in Srinagar city and some other towns of the Valley. Barring a few incidents the overall law and order situation remained under control today (Friday),” a senior police officer said here.

During last seven days, 31 protesters have been killed in security force firing across the Valley.

Sources in the local hospitals said half a dozen injured civilians are battling for life as their conditions are critical.

“Most of these injured persons have sustained bullet injuries during violent clashes with the security men,” the sources said.

Shops, markets, banks, post offices, educational institutions, public transport and even government-run retail outlets of essential commodities are closed in curfew bound areas.

Residents in old city areas are complaining of an acute shortage of almost all essential commodities including baby food, medicines and foodstuffs.

“We have not been able to buy any bread, milk or medicines during the last seven days because of the indefinite curfew in our area. The ration stocks are also running thin and we fear starvation unless the curfew is relaxed and people allowed to buy essentials of life,” said 34-year-old Nazir Ahmad, a resident of the old city area.

Police here said curfew was being imposed as the last resort to prevent violence here.

“Curfew is imposed only after careful evaluation of the situation. This becomes necessary to protect civilian life and property and is always the last option available to us”, said another senior police officer here.

Reports from other major towns of the Valley also indicated security personnel in full gear were enforcing curfew there.

Mobs have been violating the curfew restrictions in many parts of the Valley resorting to violent protests since last Friday when the fresh cycle of violence erupted here.

Hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani whose Hurriyat group has called for protests and shutdowns here, has issued appeals to the youth asking them to stop violence.

Geelani maintained violence and stone pelting were not part of the peaceful secessionist campaign launched by his group.

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