Kashmiri separatist leader, 14 others injured in Srinagar

July 4th, 2008 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Srinagar, July 4 (IANS) Fifteen people, including a senior Kashmiri separatist leader, were injured here Friday when the police made a baton-charge to disperse a group of people marching in a proecssion and shouting pro-freedom slogans, the police said. Among the injured was Shabir Shah, chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), who received head injury. He was leading the procession after offering ‘Nemazi Shukrana’ (thanksgiving prayers) at the historic Hazratbal shrine for the cancellation of the Amarnath shrine land allotment Friday afternoon, a police official said.

“The situation is now under control. We have dispersed the mobs. Shabir Shah received head injury and is being treated in the Soura Medical Institute. He is stated to be out of danger,” a senior police officer said.

The call for ‘Hazratbal Chalo’ was given by senior hard line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had supported the Friday’s call.

Both Geelani and Mirwaiz were placed under house arrest Thursday.

Jammu and Kashmir cabinet March 5, 2008 allotted 40 hectares of forest land in north Kashmir Baltal base camp area of the Amarnath Yatra to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), headed by the state governor, for facilities of the Hindd pilgrims.

The government Tuesday rescinded the forest land allotment order, putting an end to a long controversy that saw violent protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley.

Shouting pro-freedom slogans, hundreds of people joined Shabir Shah and other leaders in the procession from the Hazratbal shrine.

However, the police and paramilitary forces tried to stop them near the main bus stand at Hazratbal. The police used batons and later burst tear-gas shells to disperse the processionists who indulged in stone pelting.

“Shabir Shah and ten others were wounded in the baton charge. He and other injured people were taken to the Soura Medical Institute,” the police officer said.

Another procession was taken out from the Jamia Masjid in old city immediately after the Friday prayers towards Hazratbal. However, it too was stopped near Lal Bazzar by the police.

Five people were injured in baton charge and stone pelting.

“The situation is now under control. We have dispersed the mobs,” a senior police officer said.

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