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Article 35-A Row: Rumour shuts down Kashmir, dozens injured in Kashmir parts

Srinagar, Aug 27: Chaos and confusion prevailed in parts of Kashmir after news spread that Supreme Court has listed the case of Article 35 A for hearing on Monday. Parts of Kashmir observed shutdown while in different parts there were clashes, forcing authorities to close down the school and colleges to maintain law and order. Over a dozen people were injured in Shopian clashes. “A rumour is being spread by miscreants that hearing of Article 35 A case in the supreme court is today. This is not a fact. We will investigate all these rumour mongering cases and deal with the culprits strictly,” tweeted ADGP Munir Khan. Though police requested people to maintain peace and don’t lend ear to rumours, there were clashes and protests in different parts of Valley including Srinagar. The schools and colleges located in and around the city centre were closed down by authorities. The shopkeepers rolled down their shutters while youth clashed with deployed forces near Budshah Bridge prompting police to fire a couple of tear-smoke shells to disperse them. In Ganderbal and Budgam, students stage protest amid shutdown warning Government of India of consequences in case Article 35A is tinkered with. Reports said that all the shops and business establishments remained shut in Budgam amid a massive protest from students and locals. Students from Government Degree College and Boys Higher Secondary School also staged a demonstration in support of Article 35A. Students also protested at Degree College Bandipora. They carried out a peaceful rally in support of Article 35A. Clashes also erupted in Anantnag and Pulwama where shops remained closed and transport remained off from roads. Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS that a large number of youth hit to roads at Lal Chowk, Kadipora, Sarnal, Mattan Chowk, Reshi Bazar, Achabal Ada, General Bus Stand and Mehandikadal and pelted stones on deployed forces who retaliated with tear-smoke shells. Shortly after the clashes, the shopkeepers shut their business while vehicles disappeared from the roads. Locals alleged that Para-military troopers smashed window panes of Jamia Masjid while at Qazi Mohalla they ransacked houses and thrashed people. ‘The private vehicle (JK03F/4446) belonging to Daily Rising Kashmir photo journalist Sheikh Mashook was also damaged by CRPF personnel,” alleged locals. Over a dozen youth sustained injuries after clashes broke out between the government forces and people in South Kashmir’s Shopian district. Reports said that soon after the news about the hearing of a petition challenging Article 35 A, spread scores of the people mostly youth assembled at Gol Chowk in Shopian and clashed with forces, resulting in injuries to over dozen youth. A police official said that scores of youth hit the streets and started protests in the town. He said the youth pelted the forces deployed there with stones. The forces responded by fired tear gas and pellets, resulting in injuries to 13 protesters. An official at district hospital Shopian said they received around 13 youth with pellet injuries. Three youth with injuries in their eyes have been shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar, he added.