More protests erupt in Kashmir, another youth killed (Lead)

September 13th, 2010 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 13 (IANS) A young man was killed as security forces fired at a mob of protesters in north Kashmir Bandipora district Monday, taking to 71 the toll in the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley. Protesters defied curfew and took to the streets following rumours that the Quran had been desecrated in the US.
“Nisar Ahmed Bhat, a protesting youth, was killed and another was injured when security forces fired at an unruly mob in Ajas village of Bandipora district today (Monday),” a police officer told IANS here.

“The situation is still tense in the area and the security forces are trying to bring it under control,” he said.

Reports said that Bhat and Riyaz Ahmad, the other protester, sustained bullet injuries and Bhat died while being shifted for specialized treatment to a hospital in Srinagar.

With Bhat’s death, the number of people killed in the unrest in the Kashmir Valley since June 11 has risen to 71.

But as 24X7 curfew continued in major towns of the valley, hundreds of villagers from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district took out processions Monday morning, shouting pro-Quran and anti-America slogans. Such protests also erupted in Shalimar area of Srinagar city.

Locals here said an Iranian television news channel announced late Sunday that a copy of the Quran had been burnt in the US. A pastor in Florida, US, had threatened to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks but later called off the plan.

Interestingly, the processions here did not see any anti-India or anti-security force slogans as village elders were leading them and trying to ensure that the anger against the US did not spill over into provocative actions against the state police or the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“These are absolutely pro-Islam protests and we demand befitting punishment to those who have desecrated the holy Quran. No Muslim anywhere in the world will watch the desecration of the holy Quran as a mute spectator. This protest is beyond borders and nationalities,” said Manzoor Ahmad, 55, a villager.

Pro-Islam and anti-US protests were also held at Humhama, Ompora, Shalteng, Shalimar, Newthead and other places in Srinagar and also in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Protesters marched in a huge procession towards Srinagar city from central Badgam district.

An indefinite curfew continued in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley for the second day Monday.

“Curfew continues to be in force in the entire Srinagar city, south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Pulwama, Bijbehera and north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Sopore towns. The situation is under control throughout the valley,” a senior police officer said here.

Round-the-clock curfew has been imposed for the first time here since the present unrest started June 11.

During the last three months, the authorities would announce curfew or restrictions in vulnerable areas during the day and deployment of police and CRPF were withdrawn with dusk.

“That practice allowed us to buy at least some essentials of life from small shops in the area which would open up for a few hours in the evening. But as the authorities decided to continue with round-the-clock curfew here, nobody has ventured out in our locality,” said Abdul Majid, 39, a resident of Bohri Kadal area in Srinagar.

“Police vehicles fitted with loudspeakers continued announcements during the night that curfew has not been lifted and people must stay indoors,” he added.

The authorities had to continue curfew restrictions without any break in Srinagar city because of the mob frenzy Saturday in which the headquarters of the state electricity department, offices of the police crime branch, a police barrack and a vehicle were torched following a march to Lal Chowk led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group.

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