Protesters vandalise a police vehicle during a protest against the government’s plan for setting up separate township for Kashmiri Pandits, at Lal Chowk in Srinagar
Four persons were injured and dozens others were detained after protests erupted in Kashmir on Friday against the government’s proposal to build separate colonies for the displaced Kashmiri Hindus or Pandits in the valley.
Heavy contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in full riot gears were deployed in Srinagar to thwart the protest call given by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) against ‘Composite Townships’ for Pandits back in valley.
The JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik along with hundreds of his supporters staged protest demonstration following Friday afternoon prayers at Maisuma locality of Srinagar against the government’s proposed move.
The protesters threw stones on the security forces personnel deployed at Maisuma. After protesters broke the police cordon, the security forces resorted to teargas shelling and burst pepper gas grenades to disperse them.
Eyewitnesses said four youth were injured in police shelling at Maisum. However, police said no protester was injured while four policemen were injured in stone pelting.
“Four policemen were injured in stone pelting at Maisuma on Friday,” the police spokesperson Manoj Pandita said. Police later detained Malik along with his 21 supporters including several Kashmiri Pandits. The protestors raised the slogans in support of communal harmony between different religious communities and against the setting up of proposed separate clusters for the migrants.
Malik says such townships would further divide the Muslim and Hindu communities in the valley and create a Gaza like situation where Jewish settlers are supported by the Israeli state against the wishes of the people of Palestine. Even after Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed denied government was planning to create composite townships for the Hindus, the JKLF chairman went ahead with the protest march.
Similar protests were also reported from other party of the city and towns. Earlier in the day Chief Minister said return of the Kashmir Pandits to the valley would restore the diversity for which Jammu and Kashmir was known all over the country. He said there are presently 7,247 Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmir, which include 638 in Anantnag, 157 in Ganderbal, 395 in Pulwama and 870 in Budgam.