Protests mar Eid celebrations in Srinagar, 3 cops injured

Eid celebrations marred

Violent protests after congregational prayers on Monday marred Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in the city as a mob set ablaze a police vehicle and beat up three policeman in Eidgah area.

As soon as the Eid prayers concluded at Eidgah in the Old City, hundreds of youth blocked the road and stopped a police vehicle on its way to Soura from Qamarwari and asked the policemen to alight from the vehicle, official sources

said.

They said the cops were then beaten by the mob but they managed to escape from the spot. Three policeman, including an Assistant Sub Inspector, were injured in the incident. The mob then set ablaze the police vehicle, the sources said.

Additional police and paramilitary personnel were rushed to the spot to restore law and order in the area, the sources said. Police had to fire several rounds of tear smoke shells and even fired few aerial shots to disperse the mob, they said.

Although officials did not cite any reason for the sudden outbreak of violence in the area, the separatist camp maintained it was a reaction to state government's decision to impose restrictions on Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and other leaders, which prevented them from offering even Eid prayers.

Meanwhile, barring the protests at Eidgah, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated across Kashmir with traditional fervour and gaiety with thousands of devotees flocking to mosques, shrines and prayer grounds in the Valley to offer special prayers.

Dressed in their best, men and women of all ages, accompanied by children, made a beeline for prayer grounds, mosques and shrines to offer prayers, which mark the end of fasting month of Ramadan.

The fasting month came to an end yesterday with the sighting of the crescent as Muslims follow the lunar calendar.

The biggest gathering of the devotees was witnessed at Tourist Reception Centre ground near Lal Chowk and Eidgah in the Old City, officials said.

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