Twenty-one security personnel were injured in post-Eid clashes in the Kashmir Valley on Wednesday, as senior separatists were disallowed from congregational prayers. Violence broke out immediately after Eid prayers at Idgah in Srinagar, Sopore in Baramulla district and in Anantnag. Locals accused the security forces of bursting tear-gas shells without provocation.
A police spokesman said in Srinagar: “Miscreants indulged in stone-throwing at Main Chowk and Batapora Sopore, Hyderpora, Idgah and Ashaji Pora Anantnag. The police and security forces exercised maximum restraint.” He said 21 security personnel, including two police officers, were injured.
Locals accused the security forces of damaging public property, including the vehicles of devotees.
Anger was brewing since morning when the authorities decided to place separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik under house arrest and disallowed them from congregational prayers.
“For six years now, I am disallowed from leading Eid Khutbah, a tradition followed for centuries, and offering congregational prayers,” the Mirwaiz said.
He accused the security forces of using “force against devotees.” The PDP-BJP government has crossed all limits as women devotees were injured in the action by the security forces,” he said.
Eid was celebrated in the State on Wednesday after Mufti Basheer-ud-Din on Tuesday night declared the sighting of the crescent. The announcement came just minutes after Pakistan spotted Eid crescent.
The militant commander-turned-separatist leader, Shahid-ul-Islam, exchanged online barbs with the BJP spokesman over the sighting of the crescent.
“Finally, the PDP, the National Conference, the BJP in Kashmir followed Pakistan in celebrating Eid,” Mr. Islam wrote on Twitter.
This enraged BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangeer, who tweeted: “We follow Idd chand [crescent], not a country where terrorists are being trained to attack our sacred place.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, offered prayers at the Hazratbal shrine.