M A I N   N E W S

Rally turns violent on Eid, Kashmir tense
l Mob turns violent, torches police post, police vehicle & govt offices l Omar says Mirwaiz betrayed him l Cabinet panel meets on Monday
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Srinagar, Sept 11
Security forces in Srinagar on Saturday showed considerable restraint while dispersing a violent mob that set a police post, a police vehicle and two government offices on fire and roughed up policemen and pelted stones at them. Police fired several rounds in the air although the mob did everything to provoke them into firing at the crowd.

The Prime Minister is learnt to have convened a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Monday, according to agency reports, to take stock of the volatile situation in the valley. The Congress core committee had met on Friday to deliberate on the plan to partially withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, where divergent views had cropped up. While Chidambaram was said to be in favour of partial withdrawal, the Defence Ministry and the Army had opposed any dilution in the provisions.

Disturbances on Saturday began after the Eid prayers as people marched to Lal Chowk. J&K police said permission had been given for the rally and that aides of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had assured that the rally would be peaceful. Pointing out that curfew had been lifted earlier to allow people to celebrate Eid peacefully, the police regretted Mirwaiz’s failure to keep his word. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also alleged that he was betrayed by the Mirwaiz. “Today’s protests were uncalled for as people wanted to celebrate Eid after a month long fasting. But violence like today’s will result in a set-back to peace initiatives,” he said.

“It was the Mirwaiz’s office which requested for permission to march to Lal Chowk,” the Chief Minister recalled. He had overruled security concerns and views of senior police officers who apprehended that the mob would go out of control, said the CM. The onus for maintaining peace, he said, was on the two separatist leaders, the Mirwaiz and the JKLF chief Yaseen Malik. “They have been accusing my government for not providing them space for a peaceful protest,” he pointed out. But as the mob at Lal chowk turned unruly, Mirwaiz and his aides quickly disappeared from the scene.

The Mirwaiz later said that while he did not justify the the violence, it was ‘people’s anger’ that was playing out on the streets.





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