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Sunday, June 26, 2022

‘Scores’ held after Friday demonstrations in Kashmir’s Old City

Scores of youth have been either detained or arrested after protests broke out in Nowhatta locality of summer capital Srinagar last week after Mirwaiz Umar Farooq wasn’t allowed to lead the Friday congregation at Kashmir’s largest mosque, Jamia Masjid.

A group of protesters chanting pro-freedom slogans had tried to take out a march from the Mosque compound, demanding the release of Mirwaiz, who is Kashmir’s chief cleric.

As the demonstrators had marched towards the main gate, the government forces, who were deployed in huge numbers, in a bid to stop the demonstrators had fired tear smoke shells and pellet guns. “Forces fired tear smoke shells and pellet guns to disperse the protesters,” a local shopkeeper had told Voice of Kashmir.

A local, who wished not to be identified, told Voice of Kashmir, that several youth, many of whom were also arrested earlier on charges of stone-pelting, have been taken away.

“The youth are mostly from Nowhatta and adjoining localities,” the local said.
The protests had erupted after reports claiming that Mirwaiz, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, would be set free from house detention after nearly 20 months. But on Friday morning, last week, the APHC said that the Jammu and Kashmir administration “has gone back on its decision” to release the pro-independence conglomerate’s chief from his 19-month house detention.

Videos posted on social media showed an altercation between a group of journalists and government forces. Purportedly, two journalists, one of whom works for the BBC, were hit by a gun butt.

On Monday, Kashmir resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement posted on micro-blogging website Twitter, said that scores of youth were held and sent to prisons after the Friday protest. “Scores of youth have been arrested and are being subjected to torture in jails,” the octogenarian leader said.

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