Protesters, Security Forces Clash In Kashmir

11 February 2015

Srinagar: Clashes erupted between security forces and protesters Wednesday in some areas of the Kashmir Valley where the authorities had imposed restrictions to maintain law and order on the death anniversary of JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat. Stone-pelting youths came out in Maisuma area of Srinagar, and marched towards city centre Lal Chowk. Security forces lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, who were demanding the mortal remains of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged on this day in 1984 in Delhi's Tihar Jail. Clashes also took place between protesters and security forces in Papchan area of Bandipora district. In Kupwara district, protests erupted after news spread about the death of a murder accused in police custody. Police later clarified that Nazir Ahmad Mughal, a 32-year-old murder accused had complained of chest pain Tuesday, following which he was taken to the district hospital for treatment. 'The accused was treated at the hospital. After some time, he went to the toilet from where he managed to escape. 'A search was immediately launched to arrest the accused. In the morning today, (Wednesday), the body of the accused was found near the compound wall of the hospital. A magisterial inquest has been ordered into the incident,' a police spokesman said here. A police officer said barring a few incidents of stone-pelting at some places, the overall law and order situation remained peaceful in the Kashmir Valley, where separatists had called for a protest shutdown to observe the death anniversary of the JKLF founder. Authorities had imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar for the second day Wednesday to thwart separatist-called protests. 'As a preventive measure to maintain law and order, restrictions remained in force in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, M.R. Gunj, Safa Kadal and Maisuma areas of the city,' a police officer told IANS. Shops, public transport and other businesses remained closed in Srinagar Wednesday, and attendance in banks, post offices and government offices was thin. Skeletal private transport services and three-wheelers, however, plied on roads in uptown Srinagar. Inter-district public transport was also affected because of the shutdown. All examinations scheduled for the day were cancelled by Kashmir University. JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was taken into preventive custody and some other separatist leaders were placed under house arrest in the city. Meanwhile, the district magistrate of Baramulla ordered a time-bound probe into the death of a 24-year-old Farooq Ahmad Bhat, who was killed in police firing in north Kashmir's Palhalan town Monday. Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar has assured that a thorough probe will be conducted.