Srinagar, Jul 25: Authorities today foiled an attempt by separatists to march to Anantnag town from here by taking their leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq into custody even as protesters made a bid at over a dozen places across Kashmir to defy curfew. Curfew remained in force in the five districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Baramulla and 11 police station areas of the city as a preventive measure to thwart the separatists’ plans to take out the protest march.
A police official said there were attempts at over a dozen places across the Valley to defy curfew but law enforcing agencies chased the protesters away by resorting to baton charge and firing tear smoke shells. Reports of brief clashes between security forces and protesters were received from Natipora in the city, Arwani, Bijbehara, Anchidora, Batengo, Achabal (in Anantnag), Opmora, Choon (in Budgam district) and Safapora in Ganderbal district, the official said.(Also Read: CRPF expresses regret over pellet injuries in Kashmir)
While the official said there were no reports of anyone getting injured in the clashes, unconfirmed reports said at least a dozen protesters were hurt in the security forces’ action. Geelani and Mirwaiz tried to take out separate rallies from their respective residences in Hyderpora and Nigeen areas of the city but were taken into custody, he said. He said the two separatist leaders were detained as they were heading towards Anantnag’s Lal Chowk area where they had asked the people to assemble for paying tributes to those who were killed during clashes with security forces in the Valley over the past 17 days.
“Curfew was in place in Anantnag, Baramulla, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts of the Valley as a precautionary measure in view of the call given by some elements for a march to Anantnag district town,” the official said. He said areas falling under the jurisdiction of 11 police stations in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir were also placed under curfew. “Restrictions are in place in four districts — Bandipora, Budgam, Ganderbal and Kupwara– and remaining areas of Srinagar city,” he said.
The official said there were attempts at over a dozen places across the Valley to defy curfew but law enforcing agencies chased the protesters away by resorting to baton charge and firing tear smoke shells. Mobile telephony, mobile internet services and train services remained suspended for 17th day while schools, colleges and other educational institutions also remained closed due to a strike called by the separatist groups to protest the civilian killings in the clashes between protesters and security forces since July 8.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and his two associates were killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, leading to massive protests across the Valley which has so far claimed 47 lives including two policemen and left over 5,500 persons injured. Separatist groups, who are spearheading the ongoing protests in the Valley, had called for a march to Anantnag today. More than 15 persons have died in Anantnag district alone during the ongoing unrest. They have also extended the strike call till July 29 with a call to march to Kulgam district on Wednesday.