Geelani arrested, dozens injured in Valley clashes (Night Lead)

September 8th, 2010 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 8 (IANS) More than 30 people were injured as protestors and security forces clashed across the Kashmir Valley Wednesday after hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was arrested earlier in the day.
Despite curfew restrictions and heavy deployment of security personnel, fighting erupted on the streets as mobs poured out of their homes shouting anti-India slogans.

Authorities had imposed an indefinite curfew in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and restrictions in the southern towns of Anantnag and Bijbehara.

Similar restrictions were clamped in the north Kashmir town of Kangan as well.

But defiant stone-pelting protesters clashed with police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Bemina, Hyderpora, Galwanpora, Soura and Habak areas of Srinagar.

An irate mob torched a vehicle of the Srinagar Development Authority in Bemina area of the city before being chased away by security forces armed with batons and tear smoke shells.

To enforce the shutdown called by the hardline Hurriyat leader Geelani, who was arrested from his uptown Hyderpora house early Wednesday, the mobs smashed windshields of several vehicles on Srinagar’s roads.

Geelani was taken into preventive custody and lodged in the Humhama police station for planning to carry our activities considered detrimental for peace and security, police said.

In Sabzi Mandi (Soura) area, police used batons and tear smoke to disperse protesters who attacked police vehicles.

In Habak area near the Hazratbal shrine, another mob of protesters engaged police with volleys of stone and other missiles for nearly three hours.

Police exercised maximum restraint, using only batons and tear smoke canisters.

A police constable sustained a head injury because of the mob violence in Habak area.

Police used pump action gun to disperse an unruly mob in Behama chowk in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, in which one protester suffered a leg injury.

“He was shifted for treatment to a hospital and doctors said he was out of danger,” a police officer said here.

Mobs also clashed with the security forces in the south Kashmir Shopian town leaving eight people from both sides injured.

An official said: “The situation was by and large peaceful throughout the valley today.”

None of the three dozen people, including 15 security sustained, injured the valley Wednesday were in critical condition, a police officer said here.

Meanwhile, because of the Eid festival, authorities Wednesday announced that there would be no curfew or restrictions anywhere in the Kashmir Valley Thursday to facilitate Eid shopping.

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