Civilian killed, scores injured in fresh Kashmir protests (Evening Lead)

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Srinagar, Aug 5 (IANS) A civilian was killed and scores were injured in fresh violent protests across Kashmir Valley on Friday despite strict curfew enforced to stop people from holding pro-freedom demonstrations, police and witnesses said.

They said protest demonstrations were held at many places in the restive valley after Friday afternoon prayers leading to violent clashes in Srinagar, and south and north Kashmir regions.

An unruly mob pelted security forces with stones in Nagam village of Budgam. The security forces opened fire and dispersed the protestors with pellets.

Some 30 protestors were injured and one of them — Maqbool Wagay — succumbed later, a police officer said.

At least 50 persons were injured in Sopore, a north Kashmir town that has remained relatively calm in the last one month of turmoil. Police said angry men clashed with security forces, prompting police and paramilitary troopers to use force to quell protests in the apple town.

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More than a dozen protestors were also wounded in north Kashmir Kangan area on the Srinagar-Leh highway enroute to Amarnath cave shrine.

A young man was critically injured in Shopian, in south Kashmir, in clashes between security forces and protestors. The man, according to doctors at a local hospital, had multiple pellet injuries.

Protests were also held at several other places, including in Srinagar, in which dozens more were hurt.

For the first time in the recent history of Kashmir, no Friday congregational prayers were offered at Dargah Hazratbal — the most revered shrine in the state — that houses a lock of hair of the Prophet. Authorities had imposed strict curfew and blocked all entry points to Hazratbal to prevent a separatist-called protest march to the shrine.

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Curfew remained in force almost across the valley that has been on the boil since the July 8 killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani. The toll in the unrest has reached 53 after the latest casualty.



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