Srinagar: Clashes erupted between stone pelting protesters and the security forces in the old city area of Srinagar after the Friday prayers.

Immediately after the Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta in the old city area, stone pelting youths engaged the security forces in pitched battles.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who delivered the Friday sermon at the Jamia Masjid on Friday, criticised the state government for keeping separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Masrat Alam under house arrest.

Mirwaiz Umer demanded their immediate release and maintained that it was not the separatists but the state that was responsible for breaking the law in Kashmir.

"They keep hundreds of our youths detained without any reason and then accuse us of violating the law. It is the state government that has been breaking the law and not the separatist leadership," Mirwaiz told the media today.

He, however, asked the Friday congregation to carry out a peaceful protest after the prayers were over.

The protests turned violent as the youths resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security forces who are using batons and tear smoke shells to being the situation under control.