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One killed, over a dozen others injured in violent police-mob clash in AJK’s metropolis

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Altaf Hamid Rao/ Saqib Ali Hadri

The injured included JK PNA activists,  journalists and cops

MUZAFFARABAD: Oct. 22: One person was killed and scores of others including policemen were injured as a result of a street battle between an unruling demonstrating mob and the police in AJK’s capital city of Muzaffarabad on Tuesday. The riot police clashed with the raging mob of the activists of Jammu & Kashmir People’s National Alliance comprising over 27 of the Kashmiri nationalist political groups and organizations. The ill-fated person who lost life was identified as an elderly citizen Aslam Abbasi.

Police stormed the Central Press Club Muzaffarabad where the PNA leaders including its Central Chairman Raja Zulfiqar Ahmed Advocate were addressing news conference to unveil the objectives of holding of the protest demonstration of Tuesday. Several of participants including journalists were wounded after the Police teargassed and ransacked entering the Press Club building. Chief Secretary of Azad Jammu & Kashmir has ordered an immediate high level probe into the incident including the alleged attack by the Police on central Press Club building at Bank Road.

Earlier, Police had rounded up atleast two dozens of the demonstrating PNA activists when their Protest March attempted to move to Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly Hall where the session was in progress to discuss the deteriorating Kashmir situation. The Police mob clash occurred when Police tried to stop the mob moving ahead by resorting to heavy lathi charge besides teargassing the crowd to disperse.

Latest reports spoke of the arrest of dozens of PNA activists including the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party Sardar Liaquat Hayat Khan. The injured including local journalists were rushed to the hospital for medicare. The J&K Public Rights Party’s Chairman Shehzad Khurshid Rathore who was also affected by teargassing strongly condemned the Police highhandedness and described it the state offensive.

The J&KPNA Chariman Raja Zulfiqar Ahmed Advocate, Chairman of his own faction of Jammu Kashmir Liberal Front Sardar Muhammad Sagheer Khan, Secretary General of PNA Sardar Liqauat Hayat Khan, Supreme Head of Liberation Front Rauf Kashmiri, Central President NSF Ibrar Latif, Senior Vice Chairman Liberation Front Raja Mazhar Iqbal earlier led the Protest March started from the AJK University Ground for the AJK Legislative Assembly Secretariat, where they had announced to stage a protest rally in support of their demand including the establishment of an independent and powerful join government comprising Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan without further delay.

The PNA also raised the demand of, what it called, the early grant of constitutional, political and economic rights to the people of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Authorities asserted that the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples National Alliance (PNA) protest was dispersed by district administration and Police from Upper Bus Stand in AJK’s capital city on Tuesday. The PNA protestors were lathi charged by Police when they tried to cross the barricades in front of the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir at CMH Road.

According to hospital sources, more than at least 8 injured persons were brought to the hospital. They had reportedlyinjured in the police lathi charge during clash between the Police and the stones-throwing protesters. Deputy Commissioner Muzaffarabad Badar Munir said that the protesters were not allowed to go to AJK legislative assembly. “However we allowed them to up to the central press club at Bank road”, he said adding that the unruly mob started throwing stones at the Police when they were opened for the way ahead. “Some of them didn’t want to remain peaceful even they didn’t obey their own leaders and no one is allowed to challenge the writ of the state” DC Muzaffarabad added. Meanwhile, addressing news conference at the State’s capital town late Tuesday, the PNA leaders including Chairman of the Alliance Raja Zulfiqar Ahmed Advocate demanded immediate judicial inquiry into the incident. “We will come again at the State’s metropolis’’, Chairman PNA, Raja Zulfiqar said adding “we have decided to continue protest on 24th of October”.

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