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5 injured in J&K violence
Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar
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August 05, 2008 12:42 IST
Last Updated: August 05, 2008 16:21 IST

Curfew was relaxed on Tuesday for three hours in Jammu and Udhampur, but remained in force in three other districts in the region where it was imposed on August one following agitation over the Amarnath land transfer issue.

The Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front chairman, Yasin Malik began an indefinite hunger strike in Srinagar [Images] on Tuesday, even as violent protests erupted again in parts of summer capital Srinagar.

Malik sat on an indefinite fast with two dozen supporters at the uptown Maisuma headquarters of the JKLF against what he called "the targeting of the minority community in Jammu region and harassment of local drivers."

Malik had on Monday. announced his decision to start an indefinite fast saying, "Kashmiri drivers were being harassed in the Jammu region."

At least five persons were injured on Tuesday in stone-pelting and fresh violence in Srinagar city over the Amarnath land row as tension prevailed in the Kashmir valley in the wake of the death of a youth in police action. Police lobbed teargas shells to quell stone-throwing protesters in Maisuma locality where the youth was killed on Monday after being hit by a teargas shell.

While four persons were wounded during clashes and teargassing, one person was injured when he was hit by a stone in Budhshah Chowk area where protesters and police fought a pitched battle, official sources said. Police also teargassed protesters in Nowhatta and Chanapora localities of the city, they said. All the injured have been admitted to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital.

Srinagar wore a deserted look as schools, colleges, shops and business establishments remained closed in major areas in the wake of the violence. Police reports said that there was tension in Sopore, Baramulla, Anantnag and Pulwama areas in the Valley.

Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry was ordered into the police firing in Jammu region's Samba district in which two persons were killed and 18 others were injured during a protest rally on the Amarnath issue on Monday.

The probe will investigate what prompted police led by senior superintendent of police Prabhat Singh to open fire without magisterial orders, Samba district magistrate Surav Bhagat told PTI.

The probe was ordered in the wake of allegations by the Shri Amarnath Sangrash Samiti that the SSP took an AK rifle from his personal security officer after being hit by a stone and fired on the protestors. The Samiti has demanded dismissal of the SSP and his immediate arrest.

Inspector general of police, R K Saxena said a Central Reserve Police Force jawan fired a few rounds in the air, but no one died in that firing. "The firing on protestors was resorted to by the police team led by the SSP," he claimed.

In Srinagar, protesters poured onto the streets decrying the death of the 22-year-old youth Asif Mehraj during the protests on Monday.

The protestors attacked police posts and vehicles in several areas in the city. Mehraj was among the group of people in Maisuma who were agitating over the 'economic blockade' of the valley by Amarnath Yatra [Images] Sangarsh Samiti.
At least 31 persons including 14 security force personnel were injured in the clashes between protestors and police on Monday.

A high level central team comprising of union home secretary, Madhukar Gupta, defence secretary, Vijay Singh [Images] and director general, CRPF, V K Joshi arrived in Jammu on Monday.

Indicating that the union government is concerned over the situation that is developing in Jammu region, the team stressed the need for handling the situation in such a manner that life and property of the people are fully protected and no element is allowed to exploit the situation.

It said that communal harmony must be maintained at all costs and it must be ensured that the minorities do not feel insecure, according to an official statement.

Additional Reportage: PTI

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