Srinagar: Protests erupted in Pulwama town and Soura area of Srinagar city as the state authorities on Thursday eased curfew in phased manner across the Valley.
Reports and eyewitnesses told that groups of people this afternoon took to streets in Pulwama town when curfew was relaxed for a few hours this afternoon. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the people mainly youth were protesting the killing of unarmed civilians by forces.
As the protesters tried to march on the streets, forces swung into action and lobbed numerous teargas canisters to disperse the protesters. In retaliation, protesters pelted rocks and stones on the forces triggering off fierce clashes. As the clashes turned intense, authorities reimposed curfew. Several people were injured in the clashes.
â€œAuthorities relaxed curfew restrictions in Kakapora, Lethpora, Tral, and Awantipora, from 1 pm to 4 pm. However, curfew was reimposed in Pulwama after incidents of stone pelting,â€ a police spokesman said.
In the neighbouring Islamabad district where curfew was lifted from 1500 hours to 1900 hours, situation remained peaceful.
In Srinagar, where harsh curfew remained in force for the twelfth consecutive day today, curfew was lifted in East, West and Southern zone after 1500 hours onwards. Similarly, curfew was relaxed in North zone from 1700 hours onwards.
In Soura area of the city, minor protests broke out near Dula Bagh. However, no reports of any injury were received.
Earlier in the day, thousands of paramilitary CRPF troops and policemen deployed in this capital city enforced strict curfew. Equipped with sophisticated weapons and riot gear, the forces manned the deserted streets, lanes and by lanes of city to scuttle any possible attempt by the people to breach the curfew and stage pro-freedom demonstrations. To restrict civilian movement, forces had placed iron barricades and spools of barbed wire on important roads and crossings.
In Ganderbal, and Kangan curfew was relaxed for two hours staring 1300 hours.
A few hours relaxation in curfew was also given in two phases in Central Kashmirâ€™s Budgam district from 1500 hours onwards. In Shopian curfew was lifted around 1600 hours onwards.
â€œSituation at this hour continues to remain normal and under control, throughout Valley,â€ a police spokesman said.
Strict curfew however continued in Baramulla district of North Kashmir. At many places in Sopore town, angry protesters took to streets and fought pitched battles with the forces.