Friday, 15 February 2013

Spanish Tourist Among Five Injured In Kashmir During Protests Against Afzal Guru Hanging

Srinagar: A Spanish tourist was among five people injured Friday in the Kashmir Valley as sporadic protests erupted against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Despite a valley-wide curfew for the seventh straight day, protesters took to the streets in areas and clashed with security forces, both police and other sources said.

Police said the situation was "by and large peaceful" Friday. However, there were incidents of stone pelting at Naid Khai, Azad Gunj Baramulla, Handwara, Ajas Bandipora, Muran Pulwama, Charar-i-Sharief and Qaimoh Kulgam, a police statement said.

Police said they exercised maximum restraint while dealing with mobs. One man, Ghulam Nabi Dar of Bandipora district, was injured in his right leg and was hospitalized. It was not clear what precisely happened.

Three policemen were hit by stones and injured at Handwara and Charar-i-Sharief. The tourist from Madrid, Marcos Tovio, was also hit by a stone when he was going to the north Kashmir Gulmarg ski resort Friday afternoon, police said.

He was admitted at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura in Srinagar. Authorities imposed curfew in all major towns of the valley including Srinagar to foil protests over Afzal Guru's Feb 9 execution in New Delhi's Tihar Jail.

His body was then buried in the jail complex. In old city areas of Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian towns, uninterrupted curfew entered the seventh day.

Police sources said in some areas the curfew was relaxed in the evening to allow people to buy food and other essentials. Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has extended his call for a protest shutdown till Sunday.

Geelani had asked people to offer Afzal Guru's funeral prayers in absentia and collectively demand the return of his body to the family. The blockade of Internet and mobile telephones imposed February 9 continued for the seventh day Friday.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked separatist leaders not to prolong the shutdown. Omar said he cannot prevent people from identifying with Afzal Guru. "This is not a totalitarian state," he said earlier.

More than 40 youths have been taken into custody in the last six days during clashes with security forces or during night raids at some places. There is heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in all cities and towns of the valley.

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