Curfew continues in Pulwama

Locals Allege Persecution By Forces

KHALID GUL

Pulwama, Dec 29: Apprehending widespread protests following the firing on civilians by security forceson Friday which left nine injured, the authorities continued with the curfew on second consecutive day on Saturday in Pulwama town.
Reports said that police and paramilitary forces wearing riot gears were deployed in strength in the entire town to strictly enforce the curfew. Due to the severe restrictions in the town and its adjoining villages, the movement of the people was restricted.
Reports said the forces had sealed all the entry and exit points by putting up barricades and erecting concertina wires and no vehicle was allowed to enter the town.
In the wake of strict curfew, people particularly students had to face severe hardships. “We were not allowed to venture out by the forces to even buy milk or bread,” said the residents of Murran area of the town.
They alleged that many residents were beaten to pulp by the forces for trying to venture out. “The forces did not even allow the patients to be ferried to the hospitals,” said one of the residents Firdous Ahmad. Though the District Magistrate had announced that the roll no. slips of the students appearing in various exams will be treated as curfew passes, but most of the students alleged the forces did not adhere to the DM’s order.
“We had to appear in ongoing examinations of BA/BSC final year but had to face tremendous difficulty to reach the examination centers as the forces did not pay any heed to our pleas despite showing them the roll no. slips,” said a group of students. Curfew is likely to remain in place for third running day on Sunday.
“We are apprehending law and order problem and as such the restrictions will continue on Sunday,” said a police official.
The Special Operation Group (SOG) of police had allegedly fired on the protesters in Chandigam village who were marching towards the encounter site to get the bodies of the two slain local LeT militants gunned down by the forces in an encounter earlier in which two army officers and SOG personal were also injured. However, according to the eyewitnesses they were confronted by police and paramilitary forces and as the protesters offered resistance they were fired at resulting in injuries to five of them. The forces after leaving the village, locals said, fired all around and two stray bullets hit a person at his home injuring him severely.
“Later, when the injured were being carried to district hospital Pulwama, the army personnel after being caught in a traffic jam in Pulwama town got infuriated and fired on the injured being ferried in a cab and their attendants injuring three more persons,” eyewitnesses said.
All the nine injured with bullet injuries were later referred to SKIMS, SMHS and Bone and Joint Hospital Srinagar and the condition of two of the injured according to doctors attending them is stated to be critical.
Class 10 student Suhail Ahmad was hit by two stray bullets at his native village and then again by one in the Army firing in Pulwama town.
The firing triggered widespread protests in Pulwama on Friday as youth clashed with police and paramilitary forces at several places. Six persons including Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR), his PSO, driver and three others civilians were later injured in clashes. Several vehicles, including that of the ACR was damaged in the stone pelting and tear gas shelling following which curfew was imposed in the town and its adjoining villages.
The District Development Commissioner (DDC), Pulwama, Shafat Noor has ordered magisterial inquiry into the firing incident at Pulwama town and ordered the Additional District Development Commissioner (ADDC) to submit report within 15 days.
The police, in its statement, had claimed that they had to fire on the protesters after they hurled stones on the forces during an encounter in Chandigam village. It further said that the mob attacked the ambulance carrying the injured Army Major and in the retaliatory action seven persons were injured.
The Army, however, denied that it had fired on the protesters in Pulwama town. “Army was carrying the injured Major in the ambulance and the police and Army was jointly escorting it when the mob attacked it at Pulwama Chowk. We only fired warning shots in the air but later came to know that seven persons were injured,” an Army official had said. He said that despite provocation the Army exercised maximum restraint.
Meanwhile, a strong resentment is brewing against the Army, Police and paramilitary forces in the town.
“In Delhi and other places in India violent protests are dealt by using water cannons and here even the peaceful protesters are showered with bullets,” said a college student Imtiyaz Ahmad.
He said that the Army even did not spare the injured who had earlier received bullet injuries and fired at them too.
“In Delhi, protesters even resort to vandalism, heckle and kill cops but water cannons are used as last resort,” said another college student Mehak Wani.

MAGISTERIAL PROBE BEGINS
Meanwhile, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Pulwama, who is the inquiry officer to probe the firing incident in Pulwama, has asked the people to record their statements or file affidavits by January 5, 2013.
An official handout said here, “ADM Pulwama who has been nominated as inquiry officer to probe into the firing incident at Rajpora Chowk, Pulwama has informed that any person/persons having any knowledge or information about the said incident can record their statements or file their affidavits before the inquiry officer by or before January 5, 2013, in his office chamber during working hours.”
The inquiry officer has been asked by the government to probe the incident within a fortnight and furnish a report.
The Magisterial Inquiry was ordered Friday after 9 civilians were injured, four of them critically, when security forcesallegedly resorted to indiscriminate firing on protesters at two different places in Pulwama.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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