35 injured in clashes in shutdown-hit Srinagar (Lead)

September 20th, 2008 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 20 (IANS) At least 35 people, including 10 policemen and seven troopers, were wounded in clashes during a shutdown called by separatists in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Saturday.Mobs shouting slogans took to the streets in the old town Nowhatta area in the morning sparking off a clash with police.

As the clash intensified, authorities rushed paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers to the area to assist the police in controlling the situation.

Police initially used baton and teargas to quell the violence.

However, as the mobs refused to disperse, police fired rubber bullets which hit a youth who was taken to hospital.

A police spokesman here said 10 policemen and seven CRPF personnel were injured in the heavy stone pelting by the mobs.

At least 17 civilians injured in the clashes were taken to a hospital.

Protesters also clashed with the police in two other localities of the capital.

Demonstrations were held in the north Kashmir Baramulla and Sopore towns.

Life in the entire Kashmir valley was paralysed Saturday following a shutdown call by the coordination committee of the two factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference.

The separatists have given a call for a month-long “resistance programme” till Oct 6, when they propose to hold a massive march to the city centre Lal Chowk.

Rallies and protests were revived in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley after the state government ordered diversion of 40 hectares of forest land to a Hindu shrine board. The May 26 order, which was rescinded July 1 and then reinstated with some changes Aug 31, and the alleged “economic blockade” by Hindu groups in the Jammu region triggered violent protests in the valley.

Over 50 people have been killed, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, during the last nearly three months of unrest.

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