Hurriyat leader among five killed in police firing: J&K

Hurriyat leader among five killed in police firing: J&K
Srinagar, Aug 11 (PTI) A prominent Hurriyat leader was killed in police firing which claimed a total of five lives on Monday and curfew quickly imposed in the state capital after a protest march by separatists and others in an attempt to cross the Line of Control against the 'economic blockade' turned violent.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz (60), who joined thousands of marchers on the highway linking Srinagar to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, died at a hospital in Srinagar after being critically injured in police firing at Chahal village in Baramulla district. Doctors said the separatist leader died due to excessive blood loss.

Curfew was first imposed in Srinagar city but later clamped in the entire district after authorities feared trouble over the killing of Aziz.

Official sources said the three others who were killed in police firing at different places on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway, were identified as Manzoor Ahmad Akhoon, Tahir Ahmad Lone and Ishfaq Ahmad.

The sources said at least 20 people, including four securitymen, were injured in clashes in Baramulla district.

Kashmir Fruit Growers Association, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Traders Federation, both factions of Hurriyat Conference and the PDP have given a call for Muzaffarabad chalo to neutralise the economic blockade of the Valley 'enforced' by the Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti, spearheading the Amarnath land stir.

Thousands of people assembled at fruit mandi Sopore and passed through the town towards Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road following a call given by separatist groups and traders' bodies, the sources said.

They said police and paramilitary forces fired in the air after lathicharge failed to disperse the protestors who pelted stones at the securitymen. Despite the firing in the air, the protestors continued their march, the sources said.

Leaders under arrest

Top separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, PDP leaders Abdul Aziz Zargar, Dilawar Mir and Nizamuddin Bhat were placed under house arrest on Sunday night as authorities made all out efforts to ensure that the proposed march to Muzaffarabad did not materialise.

Separatist leaders Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Mushtaqul Islam and Shakeel Ahmad Bakshi were picked up by police from different places in the Valley, the sources said.

In Sopore town, police deflated tyres of 200 trucks carrying fruits and used tear gas shells to disperse the agitating fruit growers trying to take out a cavalcade towards the PoK capital, they said.

As the fruit growers refused to give in, police and paramilitary forces fired in the air to bring the situation under control, they said. More than 100 fruit growers were detained.

Protests were held at Palhalan in Pattan area of Baramulla district along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, the sources said.

The protestors were, however, chased away by police who had erected barriers at all entry and exits points of the city.

The streets of the city and other towns across the Valley wore a deserted look due to the stringent security measures.

Shops, business establishments, schools and other educational institutions remained closed.

Hundreds of supporters of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq assembled at Rajouri Kadal near the headquarters of his Awami Action Committee in protest against their leader's house arrest.

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