Protests, undeclared curfew ahead of second phase of polling

November 21st, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 21 (IANS) Ahead of the second phase of polling, state authorities imposed undeclared curfew and enforced strict security restrictions to prevent a separatist rally in summer capital Srinagar Friday.Early Friday, hundreds of police and paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were deployed in Srinagar to enforce the restrictions.

This followed a call by the separatist joint coordination committee for a march to the historic Jamia mosque in the Nowhatta locality of the old city.

The authorities dis-allowed Friday prayers in the mosque which had been surrounded by the police and paramilitary reinforcements.

This is for the second time this month that Friday prayers couldn’t be offered in the Jamia masjid because of curfew-like restrictions.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the moderate separatist Hurriyat Conference who continues to be under house arrest condemned the imposition of curfew saying: “People’s sentiments have been hurt as they couldn’t offer the weekly Friday prayers.”

The Mirwaiz said “Indian sponsored polls are no substitute to freedom.”

Violent protests rocked Srinagar this evening.

Protests also rocked Ganderbal, Baramulla and Sopore towns in north Kashmir and south Kashmir town of Anantnag where police and CRPF lobbed tear smoke shells and used batons to disperse stone pelters, who were shouting anti-poll slogans.

In Ganderbal, where anti-poll protesters attacked an election rally, police had to open fire to restore order injuring one person who was hospitalized.

Police said ten persons were injured in today’s stone pelting incidents.

Two constituencies of north Kashmir Ganderbal district, where campaigning ended this evening go to polls in the second phase of assembly elections Sunday.

Authorities have made tight security arrangements for peaceful polling.

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