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Clashes hit Indian Kashmir on Eid festival

Kashmiri Muslims perform the Eid-al Fitr prayer in Srinagar KL File Image Bilal Bahadur

"After the prayers people started peaceful protests against the house detention of Mirwaiz".

The government forces in India-held Kashmir were locked in an intense battle on Sunday with armed militants who took cover in a school after opening fire on a group of soldiers on the eve of Eid, police said.

Reports said soon after Eid prayers, stone pelting youth carrying Pakistani flags and raising anti-India slogans, clashed with security forces in Anantnag town of South Kashmir in which five police men, including a Dy SP, were injured. The forces were also reported to have detained some pro-freedom Kashmiris to defuse the situation.

According to Greater Kashmir, Kashmir's Baramulla district saw over a dozen protesters injured in the ensuing clashes with government forces.

For security reasons, many ministers and senior civil and police officers offered prayers at the district police lines mosque here at 6.30 a.m. However, the crowd dispersed after almost 20 minutes.

They said this was the largest gathering in the state followed by another at the Eidgah in the old city where more than 40,000 people participated in morning prayers. Despite restraint by security forces, incidents of stone pelting and clashes were reported.

Similar street fighting also broke out in Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama towns in southern Kashmir.

Kashmir is expected to remain tense in the run-up to the July 8 anniversary of the killing of separatist commander Burhan Wani. Indian police didn't allow them to come out of the prayer ground. "I am fully confident that this festival of goodness and humanity will help in bringing peace, understanding, brotherhood and happiness in Kashmir Valley and pave the way for a new dawn there", he said.

The Indian authorities had imposed restrictions in several areas in Srinagar city and major towns in the disputed Himalayan region.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947.