Two dozen protesters, security men injured in Kashmir clashes (Lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Feb 25 (IANS) Protesters and security men fought pitched battles in parts of Kashmir Valley Wednesday, injuring around two dozen on both sides, even as strict restrictions were imposed to prevent a march by separatists here.

Groups of slogan shouting youth pelted stones at police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the Rambagh and Batmaloo areas of summer capital Srinagar. Reports of clashes between security men and protesters also came in from the north Kashmir town of Sopore.

The security forces used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the unruly mobs in these areas.

A shutdown and a march to Sopore had been called by separatist leaders Wednesday to protest the alleged killing of two youths by the troops of the army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Bumai village on the outskirts of Sopore town last week.

Markets, banks, government offices and traffic remained closed in Srinagar city following curfew like restrictions imposed by the authorities to prevent the proposed protests and marches by separatist leaders.

Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq were placed under house arrest to prevent their participation in the protests.

Besides lodging an FIR against some troopers of the 22 RR for the alleged killings, a magisterial probe has also been ordered into the incident. The district magistrate of Baramulla district is conducting the probe and he has been asked to complete the enquiry within a fortnight.

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