Srinagar: After few weeks’ lull, central Srinagar on Friday witnessed intense clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces. About a dozen persons were injured, half of them in security forces’ shotgun pellet firing.
The clashes erupted in Nowhatta-Gojwara quarter of central Srinagar, often referred to as downtown, soon after the Friday congregation was held at nearby Grand Mosque.
The witnesses said that groups of youth, many of them wearing bandannas or three-hole balaclavas to hinder recognition, emerged of the mosque compound and nearby dark alleys and then made repeated attempts to come on the main road while chanting “we want freedom”. They were soon confronted by the J&K police and Central armed forces and the youth reacted by hurling rocks at them.
The security forces fired pellet shotguns into the violent crowds, the witnesses, said adding that a few of the alleged stone-pelters were arrested by the police.
The hospital sources said that about a dozen persons were treated for injuries suffered during the clashes. At least, six of them had been hit by pellets.
Earlier tension gripped Sopore area in north-western district of Baramulla after word spread that a militant killed in a brief fire fight with security forces in Amshipora-Ramnagri village of southern Shopian district overnight was a resident of Sopore’s Model Town. The slain militant has been identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi alias Abdullah Bhai.
Soon, the traders in Sopore town and its neighbourhood brought their shutters down and public transport was withdrawn. The authorities ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in Sopore sub-division “as a precautionary measure” in view of the heightening tensions. The police said that the slain militant was initially a member of proscribed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) outfit and was involved in a series of attacks on security establishments and many other violent acts. “According to the police records, Ishfaq had a long history of crime records and was initially affiliated with proscribed militant outfit HuM. He along with his other militant associates was involved in a series of crimes,” a police spokesman said.