Police tear gas stone pelting Shi'ite protesters in Srinagar
Police in Srinagar fired tear gas shells on Friday to disperse a crowd of stone pelting Shi'ite Muslims who were protesting over being denied the right to take part in a Muharram procession because a curfew was in place.
The authorities had imposed the curfew to prevent any outbreak of violence as Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the main separatist leader of Hurriyat Conference, had called for a mass protest in the valley against the killings of Palestinian people in Israel's aerial attacks across Gaza.
Despite the curfew, Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets shouting Islamic slogans and flagellating themselves, which later lead to street battles with security men.
Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala where Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and his family members, were killed.
The bout of violence got intense with police beating the protesters with batons in order to stop their procession.
One of the protesters, Sayed Mohammad, said the Shi'ite muslims wanted to carry out the procession as part of the mourning month as well as to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza.
"We are Shi'ites and today's the 8th day of Muharram and we were not allowed to take out the religious procession for which we had gathered here. In addition to that we also wanted to protest against Israel," said Sayed Mohammad, a local.
A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers took hold on Thursday after eight days of conflict, although deep mistrust on both sides cast doubt on how long the Egyptian-sponsored deal can last.
The deal prevented, at least for the moment, an Israeli ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave following bombing and rocket fire, which killed five Israelis and 162 Gazans, including 37 children.