Twelve injured in CRPF firing in Kashmir

August 25th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 25 (IANS) At least 12 people, including a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper, were injured Monday as paramilitary forces opened fire on a group of protesters after one protester fired a shot in Bandipora district of north Kashmir, police said.A group of protesters Monday defied the curfew that had been imposed since 4 a.m. Sunday to begin a march in Hajin town, about 40 km from this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

“As the police and the CRPF were warning the protesters to disperse peacefully, a pistol shot fired from within the mob hit a CRPF jawan, injuring him critically. The CRPF retaliated and 11 protesters were injured,” a police officer said.

All the injured have been sent to hospitals here. The situation in Hajin town is reported to be extremely tense and troops of the Rashtriya Rifles have been deployed to enforce the curfew.

Earlier Monday, pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested in Maisuma locality of Srinagar as he tried to lead a group of protesters.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had been arrested late Sunday to thwart Monday’s proposed separatist march and sit-in at the city centre.

The present turmoil in the valley started against the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land to a Hindu shrine board that manages the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The land allotment was revoked later, triggering counter protests in the state’s Hindu-dominated Jammu region.

At least 40 people have been killed, mostly in firing by the police and paramilitary forces, in Jammu and Kashmir in almost three months of turmoil.

The unrest has turned into a mass separatist campaign in the valley, resurrecting demands for Kashmir’s secession from India.

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