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Kashmir unrest claims 3
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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Curfew imposed in 3 more Jammu towns
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August 04, 2008 17:25 IST
Last Updated: August 04, 2008 18:09 IST

Three persons were killed and 15 others, including eight security men, were injured in clashes in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] on Monday afternoon.

Police had to open fire to quell a violent mob, which indulged in heavy stone-pelting on police and paramilitary forces in Samba town situated on the Lakhanpur-Srinagar national highway on Monday afternoon, resulting in on the spot death of two persons.

A 22-year-old youth was killed when a teargas shell hit him in the Maisuma locality of Srinagar [Images], where life was crippled in view of a general strike.

The police said Asif Mehraj was directly hit on the chest by a teargas shell on Monday afternoon, causing grievous internal injuries to him.

"He was immediately shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to injuries," a senior police officer said.

The news about Asif's death intensified the protests in Maisuma locality, which was tense since Monday morning following clashes between police and groups of stone-pelting youths.

As the body of the youth reached his home, hundreds of locals, including men, women were seen wailing and weeping.

Police had to fire scores of teargas shells to disperse an enraged mob shouting anti-government slogans.

Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sudhanshu Panday told this correspondent that police had to open fire when several thousand protestors blocked the highway and indulged in heavy stone-pelting on police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.

"Seven police and paramilitary personnel, including SSP Samba were injured in the heavy stone-pelting. The crowd that blocked the highway also tried to snatch weapons from the police and paramilitary," Panday said.

"We are now trying to clear the highway," he added.

He said the situation in other curfew-bound towns was peaceful on Monday. "The curfew relaxation in Jammu city this morning passed off the peacefully," Panday said. 

"Our effort is to keep the highway open to ensure smooth movement of trucks and other vehicle for to and fro traffic," he said.

Monday's strike called by the hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was near total all over the Valley, with all commercial establishments, government offices, educational institutions remaining closed.

However, skeletal private transport plied on Srinagar roads on Monday.

Reports from other towns said the strike evoked a complete response.

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