Indefinite curfew imposed in Kashmir; 25 injured in violations

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Srinagar/Jammu, Aug 24 (UNI) In the wake of the call for a political rally tomorrow in the Kashmir valley, an indefinite curfew was imposed in the major towns early this morning, triggering clashes in which least 25 people defying the restrictions were injured when security forces burst teargas shells to disperse protestors during the day.

The curfew was imposed in Srinagar and other major towns in the valley since 0400 hrs as a precautionary measure, an official spokesman said.

He added that people have been appealed to cooperate with the law-enforcing agencies and help maintain peace and order.

About 25 people were injured when security forces burst teargas shells to disperse thousands of agitators who defied curfew restrictions in the valley.

Official sources said hundreds of people violated curfew restrictions in the down town and Shar-e-Khas and took to streets raising ''pro-freedom'' and anti-government slogans.

When the processionists tried to march towards the historic Jamia Masjid, the security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse them.

The historic Lal Chowk, which was to be the venue of tomorrow's meeting of the Coordination Committee (CC), spearheading the present agitation in the Kashmir valley, was sealed from all sides.

The CC has given a call for 'Lal Chowk Chalo' tomorrow. The Committee, an alliance of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC), other separatist organisations, the Kashmir Bar Association and social and trade organisations are demanding opening of the Sriangar-Muzaffarabad road for trade, release of all detenues and withdrawal of troops and special powers to security forces in the state.

About a dozen separatist leaders were arrested while some went underground during the day.

At 0045 hrs in the morning, the house of breakaway HC spokesman Aiyaz Akbar was raided by the Special Operation Group (SOG) of J &K police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and he was later arrested.


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