Police fire teargas shells to disperse HC procession in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Jun 23 (UNI) 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 a dozen senior HC leaders were taken into custody.

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

Mr Geelani travelling atop a truck 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.

However, 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 said Mr Geelani was reportedly injured. However, he said, this could not be confirmed as he could not be located.

However, another report said Mr Geelani left in a vehicle after police lathicharge.

Mr Akbar said police raided the residence of Mr Geelani several times. However, Mr Geelani had left for an undisclosed place from where he joined the procession.

Both the factions of the HC had announced to hold demonstrations this afternoon in protest against the land transfer to SASB from Khankah-e-Moula in the down town.

However, a large number of police personnel remained deployed there since last evening to foil any such attempt by the HC.

About half a dozen senior leaders of the HC were put under house arrest in the city since early this morning to prevent them from attending the procession.

Mr Akbar said about a dozen HC leaders were arrested by the police near Khankah-e-Moula. Those arrested included Ghulam Nabi sumbji, Mohammad Shafi, Mohammad Shafi Lone, Mohammad Rafiq, Gulzar Ahmad, Firdous Ahmad and Mushtaq ul-Islam.

UNI BAS RR AS1453

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