Rival protestors clash in Indian Kashmir

By Nazir Ganaie, Agence India Press,

Srinagar: Police on Sunday used tear smoke shells to disperse a group of youth who disrupted an anti-shutdown rally by activists of a little known JK NGO group in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.

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The clash took place in the heart of Srinagar’s commercial district of Lal Chowk when around 100 people rallied from Tourist Reception Centre to the historic clock tower here. When one of the organizers was talking to reporters, a group of youth came in and started thrashing him.

Police later had to rescue him from the spot and resorted to tear smoke shelling to disperse the angry youth.

The activists claiming to be from J&K NGO Forum reached Srinagar from different areas of Valley in more than 25 vehicles and assembled at Tourist Reception Centre ground.

The protesters who traveled in around 20 vehicles to the capital city from different areas of the valley were holding placards denouncing the frequent strikes.

They also hoisted a white flag atop the clock tower, which was later brought down and burned by the youth, eyewitnesses said.

Later people from adjacent neighborhoods of Maisuma, Kokerbazar and Court road appeared on the streets raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans and pelted stones at the police and CRPF troops.

Talking to Agence India Press Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Meraj Ahmad Kakroo said the protest organizers had not sought prior permission to hold the rally.

“They had not sought a proper permission from us and administration had no knowledge about it,” Kakroo said.

Meanwhile, Hardline Hurriyat conference, which is spearheading the four months of protest against the Indian rule, alleged it was the government sponsored “paid agents” who took out the rally today.

“Government is using all its tactics and paid agents to thwart the protest calendars issued by the Hurriyat,” acting General Secretary of the group, Nisar Hussain Rather, said.

Kashmir is in the grip of shutdowns and curfews since June 11 when a teenager, Tufail Matoo, was killed after he was hit in the head by a tear smoke canister fired by a policeman. (AIP)