Clashes in Kashmir over Udhampur truck attack

Srinagar: Clashes erupted in parts of Srinagar on Monday over an attack on a truck in Udhampur, as a shutdown called by the separatists affected life across the Kashmir Valley.

Group of youths pelted stones at police and paramilitary forces in many areas of the old city Srinagar, forcing the security forces to baton-charge and lob tear gas shells to disperse the agitated youths.

Protestors kept on re-grouping and clashes were on in the old city areas of Bohri Kadal, Saraf Kadal, Rajouri Kadal and adjoining areas in the afternoon.

Security forces were deployed in strength in the old city and sensitive areas of the Kashmir province (comprising the districts of Srinagar, Badgam, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kupwara, Baramulla, Leh and Kargil districts) to pre-empt any untoward incident.

On Friday night, some miscreants had lobbed a petrol bomb at a valley-bound truck at Udhampur on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, leaving two people in the truck with burn injuries. The truck driver, however, managed to escape from the assailants.

Cutting across the political divide, political groups and trade bodies in the valley have condemned the attack.

Kashmir Traders and Manufacture Federation (KTMF) appealed to people to observe a strike against the Udhampur truck attack, that has been called by both factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference and pro-Azad Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

State police arrested six people in Udhampur in connection with the attack.

“We condemn the attack,” Abdul Rehman Veeri, a senior minister in Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government, said in the assembly, assuring the opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress of a fair probe in the incident.

The NC and Congress had created furore in the state assembly on Saturday over the issue and staged a walkout, warning that the attack could harm communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir.