Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has blamed Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq for instigating violence in Srinagar on Saturday after the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers. Omar accused the separatists of breach of trust after violent mobs targeted police and government buildings in Srinagar.
"We received a request from Mirwaiz for the peaceful protest and we gave them the permission. But the trust has been betrayed. Mirwaiz and Yasin (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik) abused the trust that they had been given to carry out peaceful protest and also the sentiments of the Eid festival," state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told CNN-IBN.
"A handful of protests in the state on Eid is very unfortunate. A small minority, a section of the crowd decided to burn the police barracks. Such incidents also weaken my case. In the face of violence it becomes difficult to move forward," said Omar.
He, however, claimed that the situation in Kashmir Valley was under control.
"The situation in the Valley is under control. The forces have shown utmost restraint in spite of great provocation by a handful of people. This has to be looked as a confidence building measure to show the people who are inclined to carry out protest," said Omar while pointing out the security forces fired in the air to disperse the violent mob and no one was injured in the firing.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) SM Sahai also blamed the Mirwaiz for the violence in which the police barracks in the lawns of Hazratbal Shrine, police vehicles, the offices of Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch and the chief engineer in Srinagar were set on fire.
The situation in the Valley is under control. Mirwaiz and Yasin had promised that they would be taking out a very peaceful protest but they have not kept the assurance. One constable was injured when he was hit on his head and one person was injured as he fell down while putting up a flag," said Sahai.
However, the Mirwaiz said that he did not incite the mob and claimed that Hurriyat Conference had always "stood for peaceful protests".
He also said that "half-hearted steps taken by Central Government would not help" while adding that Kashmir was a political problem and that all the political parties should come together and solve the problem,
"We had called for a peaceful procession. Thousands and thousands of people joined the protests and they were peaceful. Unfortunately, some miscreants damaged public property and buildings. We strongly condemn this in the strongest possible terms. People of Kashmir have the right to get their voices heard. We also wanted to convey to the government of India that it is at the periphery of Lal Chowk that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru promised that the Kashmir issue would be peacefully settled. It is time that Pakistan, New Delhi and Kashmiris came together for the resolution of this issue. Half-hearted measures and symbolic gestures not enough," he said.
Apart from the burning of government and police building, protests were also reported from Sonwar and Lal Chowk. At Lal Chowk the mob tried to attack the historic Ghanta Ghar, trying to damage the stone building. The protestors were carrying placards, flags and shouting slogans against police for the recent killings.
The three-month unrest has so far claimed 69 lives in the Valley.