Curfew in city, South Kashmir
Maisuma Youth Critical; Protests Across Valley
GOWHAR BHAT/KHALID GUL
Srinagar/Islamabad, Aug 31: Authorities clamped curfew in the summer capital here and in Islamabad and Pulwama in south Kashmir on Tuesday fearing protests after the killing of a minor in Islamabad and injuries to five youth at Masiuma here.
Tension gripped uptown Maisuma locality in the early morning after rumors spread that one of the five injured youth had succumbed. Scores of people, including women, took to streets and staged sit-in protests. There was a buzz all across city that one of the critical youth, Yasir Rafiq Sheikh—who is also the maternal cousin of JKLF chief Yasin Malik—had succumbed.
Fearing protests and its spillover, police and CRPF sealed the roads in city centre Lal Chowk and its peripheries. Additional police and CRPF men were deployed around Maisuma locality.
People stayed on roads anxiously throughout the day. They also offered congregational prayers on roads.
Doctors at SMHS, however, said that 28-year old Yasir continues to be in a critical condition. He has been on life support system since Monday after he was operated upon.
Five persons were injured in what is said to be unprovoked police firing in Maisuma on Monday. Elsewhere in the city, curfew was imposed in areas falling under the jurisdiction of police stations Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal, Maharajgunj, Soura, Nigeen, Zadibal, Lal Bazar, Hazratbal, Maisuma, Kralkhud, Shaheedgunj, Batmaloo, Qamarwari, Ram Munish Bagh, and Lal Bazar.
Police, paramilitary CRPF and Rapid Action Force were deployed all across the city.
In several localities including Hyderpora, Batamaloo and Barzulla people offered congregational prayers on roads following which they took out protest processions.
The day’s curfew also affected the relaxation in the strike called by Hurriyat in the evening. Unlike relaxation during the past two days, very few shops opened in the city centre and elsewhere. The traffic movement also remained thin.
In Barbarshah locality, youths pelted stones and enforced a shutdown as soon as shops opened in the evening.
In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, restrictions were imposed on the movement of people. The forces were deployed in strength and they didn’t allow people to venture out of their homes.
Several people were injured as police and paramilitary forces used force to quell pro-freedom demonstrations even as curfew was clamped in South Kashmir town of Islamabad following the killing of a minor in police firing on Monday evening. Curfew was also imposed in Pulwama town where several persons were severely injured in CRPF firing on the same evening.
As the body of the deceased minor, Irshad Ahmad, reached the town late Monday evening, thousands of people came out amid pro-freedom slogans and carried the body throughout the town in a funeral procession. Night long protests were witnessed in the native place of the deceased at old Eidgah, Janglat Mandi and Lal Chowk. The protesters including women and children raised pro-freedom and anti police slogans.
The protesters burnt tyres and wooden logs on the streets. The angry protesters, locals said, also hurled petrol bombs on police station Sherbagh. However, the policemen doused the flames immediately. The police men lobbed tear gas canisters and fired several rounds in air to disperse the agitated youth.
Late in the night, police vehicles fitted with loudspeakers announced curfew and shoot-at-sight orders. Early morning, however, many people defied the curfew restrictions and marched to the native place of the deceased at old Eidgah where his Nimazah Jinazah was offered. Irshad was later laid to rest in the local graveyard.
The President of Bar Association Islamabad, Fayaz Ahmad Saudagar, who addressed the protesters while condemning the killing of the minor said, “The local police in order to prove themselves to be more loyal than the king have exceeded all limits of oppression.”
Later, police and CRPF men were deployed in strength in every nook and corner of town. However, youth in the old town areas of Cheeni Chowk, Malakhnag and Reeshi Bazar defied the curfew restrictions and clashed with police and CRPF. The forces retaliated by lobbing tear canisters and firing several rounds in the air. However, youth offered stiff resistance and hurled stones and bricks on them injuring some cops. Six youth also sustained injuries in the forces action. Curfew was also defied in Khanbal and Naibasti areas of K.P road as clashes erupted there also.
The paramilitary CRPF men allegedly thrashed a 70-year old man, Ghulam Hassan Dar, at Ghaziabad injuring him critically. Several youth were also detained by the police in the area following which announcements were made from the loudspeakers of the masjids.
Late in the evening when the deployment was reduced, people took to streets and organized massive pro-freedom demonstrations. They also fought pitched battles with the forces who retaliated by intense tear gas shelling and firing several rounds in air. Clashes and demonstrations were on when this report was being filed.
Massive pro-freedom demonstration was carried out in the Shangus area. Thousands of villagers marched towards Khundru amid pro-freedom slogans and protested against the excesses. In Achabal area several people were injured when police resorted to baton charge and tear gas shelling on a peaceful procession. Reports of protests and clashes were also received from Bijbehara and Sangam Nayinoo.
In Pulwama town curfew was strictly enforced following yesterday’s firing by CRPF in which two people were critically injured. The condition of the injured, according to the doctors, continues to be critical. Both have bullet injuries in the lower abdominal region. Clashes however erupted in the town during early morning and late evening hours. Clashes also erupted in the neighboring villages of Pichoo and Nayinoo following the detention of several youth by the police.
Reports of protests and clashes were also received from Kakpora, Pampore, Awantipora and Tral areas of the district. Massive protests and clashes rocked Shopian, Kulgam, Qaimoh and Qazigund towns of the South Kashmir also.
Police arrested nine persons at Kangan in Ganderbal district triggering protests. They were later released.
The arrested youth were among hundreds of people who staged protest demonstration and marched in the Kangan market. Police intercepted them and resorted to baton charge and arrested nine of them. As the news of their arrests spread in the town, more people came out and joined the protests demanding release of the youth.
Protesters burnt tyres and blocked Srinagar-Leh highway at Jamia Market. Police swung into action and fired several tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters who pelted stones on them.
Police released the youth after elders of the locality intervened.
In Ganderbal, people offered congregational prayers on the road at Tawheed Chowk and dispersed peacefully.
Reports of shutdown also poured in from Sopur, Varmul, Bandipora and Kupwara.
Police said situation across the Valley remained largely peaceful barring incidents of stone pelting in Shangas and Kulgam.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 31 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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