SRINAGAR ON BOIL
55 Injured In Clashes Amid Shutdown, Army Convoy Attacked
Srinagar, Feb 3: At least 55 persons, three of them critically, were wounded in the day-long clashes between the angry protesters and police across the city on Wednesday, while Kashmir Valley observed a complete shutdown for second consecutive day, though none of the pro-freedom groups had called for a shutdown, against the killing of 14-year old Wamiq Farooq hit by a police tear gas shell earlier this week.
All the shops, business establishments, banks, courts and other private offices remained closed across the Valley while traffic remained off the roads.
Hundreds of youth raising pro-freedom slogans took to the streets at Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal, Kawdara and Rainawari and staged massive protests. Protesters were demanding stern action against the accused police officer, who fired the teargas shell at Wamiq.
Policemen and paramilitary CRPF troopers who were deployed in different areas across the city resorted to baton charge and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse the protesters who retaliated with stones triggering clashes that continued throughout the day.
Witnesses said at least 30 youth including one Shabir Ahmad of Nowhatta, who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet, was injured in the clashes.
“He received the rubber bullet in the head and fell on the ground. The CRPF and police beat him up ruthlessly even after he was down with the injury,” witnesses said, adding two youth were taken into custody for taking part in protests.
Shabir was admitted at SK Institute of Medical Sciences where the doctors described his condition as “critical.” “He has severe brain injury. We have operated upon him but his condition is very critical,” Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dy Medical Superintendent SKIMS told Greater Kashmir.
In the adjoining Nawakadal area 13- year old Basit Rashid was hit by a teargas canister in the abdomen while he was returning home from his tuitions, his cousin Mudasir Bhat said.
Basit was admitted at SMHS hospital where his damaged spleen was removed during over an hour long surgery. Doctors at SMHS confirmed that his spleen was removed. “He is under observation,” they said.
Protests also spilled over to the uptown areas of Maisuma, Batmaloo, Chanapora, old Barzulla, Bemina and Natipora and city outskirts, including Parimpora and Byepass.
Shouting anti-police slogans youth came out on streets and enforced road blockades by burning tyres. The protesters were dealt with force by the troopers, deployed in strength, triggering violent clashes which continued till late in the evening. Troopers fired several tear gas canisters and fired rounds of bullets in air to disperse the protesters.
Late in the evening youth attacked a CRPF vehicle at Bemina and turned it upside down. Official vehicle of Director Agriculture, Mian Abdul Majeed, was attacked by protesters near Tengpora Bye-pass but he escaped unhurt while the vehicle was damaged in the incident.
At least four persons were injured in the clashes in uptown clashes, witnesses said.
ARMY CONVOY ATTACKED
An Army convoy was attacked by protestors in Rawalpora area in the uptown Srinagar wherein four army men were reportedly injured.
Witnesses said the convoy moved through the area at a time when protests were going on there. “The convoy came under heavy stone pelting from the protesters,” they said.
TROOPERS GO BERSERK
Reports of police and paramilitary CRPF ransacking the houses and business establishments continued to pour in from several old city and uptown areas.
Residents from various areas of Batmaloo said the police and CRPF arrived in the interiors of the area and barged into their houses. The troopers, they said, broke the window panes of houses and vehicles.
“After the clashes subsided they unleashed a reign of terror on us. They broke the window panes of almost all houses. Police also took into custody two youth who were playing cricket,” said residents of Dander Khah.
Haji Abdul Qadir Sheikh, father of slain militant commander Abdul Hamid Sheikh, of Dander khah said police broke the window panes of their house and abused the inmates. “They beat up even my aged wife,” he said.
Similar reports poured in from Bemina where, the residents said, police and paramilitary CRPF went berserk after the protests had subsided.
Residents of Nundreshi Colony A, Nundreshi Colony B and other residential colonies in Bemina accused troopers of attacking the residential houses and business establishments.
Four persons including three paramilitary CRPF men were injured in the day long clashes in south Kashmir’s Islamabad, while Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts observed a complete shutdown.
In Islamabad district, youth formed small groups and staged pro-freedom demonstrations at several places at Reshi Bazar, Lal-Chowk, Cheeni-chowk, Malaknag and Laizbal.
Police and paramilitary CRPF troopers who were deployed in strength resorted to baton charge and fired numerous teargas shells to disperse the protesters, who retaliated with stones triggering clashes that continued till late in the evening.
A mechanic Muhammad Khalil was hit by a tear gas shell in head. He was shifted to the local hospital where he was still under observation till last reports arrived.
In Pulwama district youth staged protest demonstrations in main Chowk and Muranchowk. Protesters were demanding the release of 12 students arrested by troopers yesterday. “They were picked up our colleagues from a coaching centre,” they added.
The protests were dealt forcibly by police and paramilitary CRPF resulting in violent clashes that continued till the evening.
Meanwhile, amidst a complete shutdown protests also took place in main chowks of Shopian and Kulgam townships. Several agitated youth while shouting pro-freedom slogans attacked the police and CRPF men deployed in the area. The troopers fired several tear gas canisters at the protesters and also fired several rounds of bullets in air. Two persons were reportedly injured in protests in Kulgam.
Reports of shutdown and protests were also received from Bijbehara and other south Kashmir areas.
Partial shutdown was observed in most district of North Kashmir including Bandipore, Varmul, Kupwara, Handwara, Pattan and Sopur.
Protests were reported from many area of Varmul district like Tehsil road, Cement Bridge, Government Transport yard and Khwaja Bagh.
The Inspector General of Police for-Kashmir range- Farooq Ahmad said around 13 policemen were injured in the clashes.
“It includes a constable Shareef-ud-Din who was hit by a stone in the head. Besides, 10 to 15 CRPF men have also sustained injuries,” he said.
Asked whether there would be restrictions imposed tomorrow, he said: “We will take all necessary measures according to the situation.”
Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Feb 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 3 Feb 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Feb 2010 00:00:00 IST
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