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Kashmir unrest: Sombre yet bloody Eid in the valley, two dead

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Srinagar: Curfew and widespread clashes that left two youths dead on Tuesday dampened Eid festivities in the Kashmir Valley, which has been witnessing continued protests for last 65 days claiming lives of 78 people. While curfew was imposed in all the 10 districts of the Valley, 55 incidents of clashes were reported during the day between angry mobs and security forces in which several protesters and police personnel were injured.

Soon after Eid prayers ended in Bandipora, a group of protesters started hurling stones at security forces who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells. “The police used some tear smoke munition in which one person identified as Murtaza Ahmad, a resident of Dachigam, Bandipora got injured. He was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” a police spokesman said.

Clashes were also reported from South Kashmir after body of a youth, Shahid Ahmed Seh, was found at Largam village. He was missing for the last two days and the spokesman claimed he had been injured during a stone-pelting incident at Bombazar in Shopian. “The body of Seh, a resident of Urpora Nagbal, Zainapora, was carried to Harmeen area but people did not allow the postmortem of the body,” the spokesman said, adding the cause of his death was being ascertained.

Curfew was imposed in the entire Valley in view of a call by the separatists for a march to the UN office in Srinagar in order to avoid any further loss of life and property. The call for march was given to coincide with the opening of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Sources said, police has also taken a serious note of coercion by sympathisers of militants who forced shopkeepers to close their establishments for Eid shoppers. “The miscreants who indulged in pressurising the shopkeepers and vendors are being identified and they will be dealt with under law,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, for the frst time, no Eid prayers were offered at historic the Jama Masjid in nearly two centuries. The last time the grand mosque was closed was in 1821. Similarly, no Eid prayers were offered at Idgah. The authorities allowed partial use of Hazratbal Shrine for prayers. Helicopters and drones kept a bird’s eye vigil from the skies in order to give early warning to security forces in case of assembly of a large number of people in certain areas, the sources said. The Army had been asked to be on standby.

This is probably for the first time that curfew is in place on the day of Eid festival ever since militancy broke out in the state in 1990. The government had ordered shutting down of internet services of all telecom networks and mobile telephony on Monday except that of the state-run BSNL for the next 72 hours because of the tense law and order situation in the state.

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