Srinagar: At least six people were hurt as clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies rocked some parts of Kashmir for the second day today over the death of Udhampur petrol bomb attack victim Zahid Rasool Bhat.
Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of Srinagar, was among the places on the boil with police detaining five separatist leaders including JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik shortly after they visited the home of the trucker Zahid in Anantnag district. Many areas in Anantnag observed spontaneous shutdown for the second day against the death of Zahid and witnessed day-long clashes between angry protesters and the security forces, which left six people injured, police said.
Police said there was no restriction on the movement of people in Anantnag but security personnel were deployed in sensitive areas to maintain law and order. Clashes between protesting youth and security forces were reported from Batengoo, the native village of Zahid, as also Goriwan-Bijbehara and Anantnag town and Qoimoh and Khudwani in Kulgam, police said.
Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which passes through Anantnag district, is open for traffic, police said. However, some traffic was diverted from Qazigund towards Srinagar via Devsar, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama as some youth pelted stones on vehicles between Khanabal and Wanpoh crossing.
Yasin Malik was detained along with four others shortly after they visited the residence of slain trucker Zahid. Malik and four others, including chairman of another faction of JKLF Javid Mir, were detained when they were returning from Batengoo residence of Zahid after attending a condolence meeting there, police said.
He said the separatists were detained as a precuationary measure as Malik was planning to stage a protest against Zahid’s death in Anantnag town, 55 kms from Srinagar. As the news about Malik’s detention reached his party headquarters at Maisuma in the heart of Srinagar, groups of JKLF activists took to streets and enforced closure of shops in the area and adjoining localities including Lal Chowk – the nerve centre of the city.
Groups of youth indulged in stone-pelting on police, resulting in intense clashes in the areas, disrupting normal activities, police said. Police fired dozens of teargas shells to bring the situation under control. Many separatist leaders including chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Nayeem Khan and Shabir Shah continued to remain under house arrest.
Elsewhere in the Valley, life returned to normalcy today after a day-long strike yesterday called by various separatist groups and trade bodies to protest Zahid’s death. Shops, business establishments and petrol pumps opened this morning and public transport plied normally. Educational institutions also resumed their functioning.
Yesterday, Kashmir valley witnessed a shutdown and clashes between protesters and police as the truck conductor Zahid who succumbed to injuries suffered in a petrol bomb attack in Udhampur was laid to rest amid tight security. Zahid was injured on October 9 when his truck, that was en route to Kashmir from Jammu, was attacked with petrol bombs. The driver of the truck Showkat Ahmed is also admitted in the hospital.
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