About a dozen injured, more than 20 arrested in Kashmir protests

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Srinagar, Jun 23 (UNI) About a dozen people were injured, four of them seriously, when police fired teargas shells and resorted to batoncharge to disperse a joint procession of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani this afternoon.

About two dozen senior HC leaders were taken into custody.

Mr Geelani, along with the HC activists, suddenly appeared at Habba Kadal in the old city after he gave a slip to police who raided his Hyderpora residence several times in an attempt to put him under house arrest.

Source said travelling atop a truck, Mr Geelani was leading the procession of both the factions of the HC against the transfer of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

Raising anti-government and pro freedom slogans, when the processionists reached near Gaw Kadal, a large number of police personnel waiting there stopped them.

They said when the processionists refused to disperse and wanted to move towards Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital, police fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge.

A spokesman of the HC Aiyaz Akbar told UNI that Mr Geelani escaped unhurt in the police action.

However, about a dozen HC activists were injured, four of them identified as Farooq Ahmad Guthpuri, Reyaz Ahmad, Firdous Ahmad and Nissar Ahmad, were serious. Farooq was hit by a teargas shells in the face and was admitted to SMHS hospital, Mr Akbar said.

He said Mr Geelani again led the procession from Shaheed Gunj and after marching through different streets, addressed a gathering at Jehangir Chowk.

Mr Geelani criticised the transfer of forest land to SASB and said it was a deep rooted conspiracy.

He said the graph grap of Human Rights (HR) violations was increasing every passing day and youths were being killed in fake encounters, put behind the bars and tortured in detention cells.

He condemned the killing of Mohammad Ashraf Sheikh, a resident of Kokernag, in an alleged fake encounter at Bandipora.

Mr Akbar said police raided x x x Eds pl pick up from line one, para nine of DR 15 ''AGITATION-KASHMIR-GEELANI-PROTEST''.

UNI BAS RR BD1625

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