Protests Rock City

16 December 2009
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Hundreds of youth staged massive protests in different parts of the city on Wednesday leaving at least 11 persons injured. Witnesses told Greater Kashmir that scores of youth raising pro-freedom slogans took to streets at Bohri Kadal in the old city here this afternoon. Police and paramilitary CRPF troopers deployed in strength resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse them. However, protesters retaliated with stones triggering clashes, which continued till late in the evening. “At least five protesters were injured in the police action,” witnesses said. The youth were protesting the damage to four commercial buildings in the fire that broke out allegedly after a tear gas canister fired by the CRPF men landed inside one of the buildings on Tuesday. Police claimed the fire was accidental, the locals alleged the buildings were set ablaze by CRPF men with the tear gas canisters. Several shops and godowns were damaged in the incident. Sporadic protests disrupted life in and around old city areas. Traffic went off the roads and shops and business establishments were shut. The tension spread to adjoining areas where youth came out and fought pitched battles with Police and CRPF. Meanwhile, residents of Batmaloo and other adjoining areas took to the streets this afternoon to protest against the arrest of four youth. Raising anti-government slogans, the protesters staged demonstrations at Rek Chowk, Ziyarat Diyarwani and Bazar Mohalla. They were demanding the release of youth picked up by the police after yesterday’s anti-CBI protest. “Police and paramilitary CRPF troopers used force to quell the protests in which at least six persons, including a few media men sustained injuries,” witnesses said. Pertinently, Kashmir valley witnessed a complete shutdown and massive protests on Tuesday against CBI’s report in the Shopian case. The report has ruled out rape and murder of the victims and given a clean chit to Police, CRPF and Army.