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Srinagar: Protestors breach curfew
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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August 24, 2008 15:07 IST

Protestors in various localities of Srinagar [Images] and other towns breached restrictions of curfew imposed by the authorities in the wee hours of Sunday, a day ahead of the sit-in dharna in the historic Lal Chowk called by the separatists.

Early on Sunday morning, police vehicles fitted with loud speakers went around Srinagar and other towns announcing the imposition of curfew and asking people to stay indoors.

The authorities have put the army on standby and moved  thousands of police and paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force troops in Srinagar and other towns to enforce the curfew restrictions.

However, people in old city and other towns defied the curfew restrictions shouting pro-freedom slogans and indulged in stone-pelting on police.

The police responded by firing teargas shells and used batons to disperse the protestors in the old city, in the central Kashmir town of Beerwa town, north Kashmir's Handwara and other places on Sunday morning.

At least 15 persons including some women were injured in the police-protestors clashes on Sunday, according to police.

At various places in Srinagar, people have assembled in mosques and are shouting pro-freedom slogans.

Announcements were made on the loudspeakers fitted atop the mosques asking people to come out.

Police detained five middle-rung separatist leaders during raids in Srinagar early on Sunday. Those arrested include Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the hardline All Parties Hurriyat Conference, and three leaders of the moderate APHC.

A state government spokesman said, "While the protestors have organised a rally in Srinagar tomorrow, some of the leaders face threat from vested interests. The administration has received credible inputs that these leaders could be targeted."

He said as a precautionary measure curfew has been imposed from 4 am on Sunday.

The chairman of the moderate group of the separatist, APHC, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umer Farooq, however, said, "People will defy the curfew restrictions on Monday to join the sit-in at Lal Chowk."

"We don't have any threat from anyone. Our rallies which attracted hundreds of thousands of people were all peaceful," he said.

Five photo-journalists working for various newspapers and television channels were roughed up by the CRPF.

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