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This article was first published 9 years ago  » News » Clashes in Kashmir over Tral killings, Masarat's arrest

Clashes in Kashmir over Tral killings, Masarat's arrest

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: April 17, 2015 23:52 IST
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Protesters take to the streets of Srinagar. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Violence broke out on Friday on the streets of Srinagar on a day separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat was arrested on sedition charges, with protesters burning the national flag and fighting pitched battles with security forces.

The Nowhatta area of Jammu and Kashmir capital resembled a battle zone as masked protesters burnt the tricolour and clashed with security forces resulting in injuries to about a dozen people, including two policemen, official sources said.

The protesters were also seen hurling stones at the police which retaliated, bursting teargas shells and using force to disperse the violent crowds.

Protesters take to the streets of Srinagar. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Violence erupted after authorities denied permission to the hardline Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani to hold a march from Srinagar to Tral to protest the killing of two youths in an army operation earlier this week.

Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who led a march in Tral accused the army of killing youths after labelling them terrorists.

"There is no arrest, no FIR. The government has to put an end to state terrorism," he said.

Police had to resort to firing tear gas canisters at the protesters. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Reports of stone-pelting were also received from Tral and adjoining areas.

Geelani has given a strike call throughout the Valley on Saturday against the killings and Friday’s police action.

Police seen here trying to control the riotous protesters. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Earlier in the day, Bhat, being seen as a possible successor to Geelani, was arrested following outrage over raising of pro-Pakistan slogans and flags at a rally on Wednesday where the two were present.

Both leaders were placed under house arrest in Srinagar late Thursday night.

The 45-year-old hardliner was arrested from his home in Habbakadal area of the city this morning, apparently after the Centre pushed for it.

Protesters pelted stones at the policemen. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Alam has been booked under sections 124A (Sedition) and 121 (Waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the country) of the RPC, a police officer said.

As the Centre came under attack for the situation in the state ruled by PDP-BJP coalition, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted India's unity and integrity were "inviolable" and "nobody will be allowed to break it".

"Anybody found engaging in anti-national activities will not be spared or forgiven," he told a press conference near Kanpur.

Cops fired smoke cans at the rioting protesters. Photograph: Umar Ganie
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