Protests erupt in Srinagar after Eid prayersSeptember 11th, 2010 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Sep 11 (IANS) Massive protests erupted after the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers in Srinagar Saturday as separatists led a procession to the city centre while a mob torched a police barrack outside the Hazratbal shrine.
Authorities had not imposed curfew or restrictions anywhere in the Kashmir Valley to allow people to offer Eid prayers and celebrate the festival.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, was leading a huge procession to city centre Lal Chowk after offering Eid prayers at the Eidgah grounds in the Old City area of Srinagar.
However, as per the original programme, devotees were to offer prayers at the Eidgah grounds and then disperse peacefully to celebrate the festival.
“The decision to lead a march to city centre Lal Chowk by the Mirwaiz is definitely aimed at orchestrating and fomenting anti-national feelings,” said an intelligence officer here.
After offering Eid prayers, a large procession of people gathered outside the Hazratbal shrine and torched the barracks of the local armed police posted on duty at the shrine.
“The guards fired warning shots in the air. Nobody has been wounded in the incident,” a police officer said here.
Hundreds of local youth on motorcycles also gathered at Lal Chowk, raising pro-independence slogans.
Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are posted at various sensitive places and despite provocative slogans by the mobs, no force has been used by the security forces anywhere in Srinagar, a police officer said.
“The situation is very tense and we are monitoring it closely,” the officer said.
“Instructions have been given to the deployed security forces to maintain restraint so that the designs of anti-social elements who are trying to incite people to violence are defeated,” he added.
Reports from other major towns of the valley also said people were taking out anti-India rallies, shouting pro-freedom slogans after Eid prayers.
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Tags: armed police, chowk, crpf, curfew, devotees, eid prayers, eid ul fitr, hurriyat, intelligence officer, kashmir valley, lal, massive protests, national feelings, police barrack, reserve police, sensitive places, separatists, social elements, srinagar, warning shots