Youth killed in Qazigund, toll 73; 200 injured; protests continue

Number of injured since July 9 approaches 10,000 | Pellets continue to rain on pro-freedom rallies

ABID BASHIR/ KHALID GUL
Srinagar/Anantnag, Publish Date: Sep 4 2016 12:39AM | Updated Date: Sep 4 2016 12:39AM
Youth killed in Qazigund, toll 73; 200 injured; protests continuePhoto: Aman Farooq/GK

A 20 year-old youth was killed in security forces’ action in Vesu area of Qazigund in Anantnag (Islamabad) district Saturday evening while more than 200 protestors sustained pellet and tear gas shell injuries during the day.

At least 100 people sustained injuries in the protests and clashes that erupted in various areas of South Kashmir alone. An elderly man was hit by pellets in Achabal area, reports and witnesses said. The number of injured has approached 10,000 in the past 57 days of wide-spread unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. With the fresh killing, the death toll has reached 73.

The slain youth was identified as Basit Ahmad Ahangar, son of Ghulam Muhammad Ahangar, resident of Vessu. He was brought dead to District Hospital Anantnag late evening, hospital sources said. “He had suffered multiple pellet injuries in his legs and had a head wound as well,” said Medical Superintendent (MS) District Hospital Anantnag, Dr Majid Mehrab. He said the head wound seemed to have caused due to fall.

Witnesses said that protests erupted in Vessu area of Qazigund in the evening.  “Forces lobbed tear canisters and fired pellets to disperse the protesters triggering intense clashes,” they said. At least eight other people sustained pellet injuries in the clashes who were treated at PHC Vessu. However, Basit who was rushed to Anantnag succumbed on way. “Basit had swelling in his nostrils,” eyewitnesses said.

Witnesses said pellets first hit his legs and he felt unconscious. “After this, forces caught hold of him and pushed him from the embankment of the river resulting in head injuries. He was hit by pellets first and had fallen unconscious due to tear smoke shell that exploded in front of him,” they said. As soon as the body of Basit reached his native place people hit the Srinagar-Jammu Highway at Vessu and Qazigund and held massive protests. The protesters also clashed with forces. “The protests on till last reports came in.”

Congress legislator from Devsar, Muhammad Amin Bhat, demanded judicial probe into the killing. “The person who fired pellets at him should be identified and booked,” he said.

Earlier, in the morning at least 35 people were injured- two of them critically as forces foiled peaceful pro-freedom rally in Ronipora village of Shangus. “As the volunteers were making preparations for the rally, forces raided the village and vandalized the venue, evoking protests,” witnesses said. They said forces later lobbed tear canisters and used pellet guns to disperse the protesters. “Two of the injured were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment while four people were admitted at District Hospital Anantnag. “12 others were being treated at Sub-district hospital Shangus, eight at PHC Achabal and eight at PHC Mattan,” said a health official. He said an elderly man, 65 year old Abdul Ahad Dar - had a grave injury in his neck and was shifted to SMHS in critical condition. “The forces also ransacked several houses, beat up inmates and smashed window panes and also damaged several vehicles parked in the compound,” locals alleged. At least 10 people were injured in the clashes that erupted in Meemanader and Tiku village of Shopian. “Youth pelted stones on forces who in-turn lobbed tear shells and used pellet guns,” witnesses said. They said while eight injured were treated at District Hospital Shopian, two critically injured were referred to Srinagar.

Massive pro-freedom rallies were, however, held successfully in Toli Nowpora and Gudar villages of Kulgam which saw participation of thousands of people. People were raising pro-freedom, anti-India slogans and waving Pakistani flags. Religious clerics of various sects and local pro-freedom leaders addressed the rally. Meanwhile, complete shutdown was observed in entire South Kashmir and not even private vehicles were seen plying on roads.

Reports of protests and clashes were also reported from Tahab, Pulwama, Dooru, Kulgam and Anantnag old town. Violent clashes also broke out in Kund in Devsar area of Kulgam district during Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s visit to one of the victim’s family. Several youth were reportedly rounded up by police in the area. People attacked the house of PDP Block President in Kund area - Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh - who also accompanied Mehbooba on her visit, and set the house ablaze. They also blamed him for arrest of the youth in the area.

At least 20 persons were injured in south Kashmir's Tral in the forces’ action. Eyewitnesses said that clashes broke out in Gulshanpora-Batigund village of Tral when forces tried to foil a pro-freedom rally. They said a youth, whose identity was not immediately known, was hit by a slingshot in his eye and was shifted to a nearby hospital where from he was referred to Srinagar for treatment. They said the forces smashed a public address system. Intense clashes were going on till last reports came in. However, the rally was later held which culminated peacefully.

SRINAGAR

Reports said that peaceful protests coupled with violent clashes continued in Batamaloo area of uptown Srinagar while protests erupted in curfew-bound Maisuma area when the unidentified body of a young boy was fished out from river Jehlum. Reports said curbs were in place in most parts of old Srinagar resulting in injuries to 15 people. Reports said forces resorted to tear gas shelling at Zampa Kadal in old Srinagar leaving at least five youth injured.

Evening clashes were reported from Khanyar, Safa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, 90-feet Soura, Hawal, Gojwara, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Bohri Kadal, Kawdara and Nawakadal. Similar reports poured in from Nowgam, Lasjan, Soiteng, Mehjoor Nagar, Peerbagh and Hyderpora.  An injured youth was removed to SMHS hospital in a load carrier as authorities imposed stringent curbs in majority of old city areas.

NORTH KASHMIR

At least 20 people were injured including a youth whose hand was badly injured in the clashes in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Reports said that five protestors were injured in violent clashes at Awoora village of Kupwara of which two were referred to SDH Kupwara.

A youth sustained serious injuries on his right hand when a tear smoke shell hit his right hand and he was referred to SMHS Srinagar. The youth was identified as Reyaz Ahmed Mir of Muqam, Awoora, a class 12 student.  Residents alleged that after clashes, forces entered into Peer Mohalla, Ganai Mohalla, Dar Mohalla, Haripora, Khan Mohalla localities and broke the windows, glasses and furniture. Residents said that angry protestors later stoned a police post in Awoora where six protestors and three cops were injured on Friday. Reports said that CRPF men beat up a local photographer identified as Peer Abid for performing his professional duties.

Reports from Sopore said that clashes and protests erupted in various areas leaving at least 15 people injured. Late evening reports said that at least seven protestors were injured in the forces’ action at Tikker, Kupwara. Reports said that residents of many areas offered Zuhr prayers on roads that include Nowpora, Chanakhan, Noorbagh, Krankshivan, while clashes were reported from Shangergund, Seelu and Brakhkalan areas, witnesses said.

Reports from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district said that a protest rally was held at Aloosa against detentions. At Ajar, protests were also held against the detention of youth. At Bandipore town, a massive protest demonstration was held against the civilian killings, detentions and injuries. A peaceful protest was held at Papchan area of the district. Peaceful protests were also held at Onagam, Saderkoote Bala and Naidkhai.

Reports said that massive protests broke out in Nowpora Jagir in Baramulla district this evening after police raided the area and resorted to heavy teargas shelling. According to locals, police appeared in Nowpora Jagir and started vandalizing residential houses. Scores of people were allegedly thrashed during the raid. Soon after the incident massive protests broke out in which thousands of people including women participated.

Protests were also carried out in Shrakwara, Wagoora. Reports from Pattan area suggest that as soon as shopkeepers in Pattan market tried to open their business establishment this evening, police fired scores of shells and forced closure of shops. A lady identified as Gulshana of Tappar Pattan was reportedly injured in the incident.

Sporadic clashes between police and youths were also reported at Azad Gunj bridge in Baramulla town. Police lobbed scores of teargas shells to quell the protesting youths and clashes continued till evening.

A huge protest march was carried out in old town Baramulla this evening.

CENTRAL KASHMIR

Reports said that intense clashes erupted in Beerwah area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. At least 60 people sustained injuries in the day-long clashes, witnesses and reports said. The injured were hit by pellets and were removed to PHC Gondipora and Chewdara. Hospital sources said that over 60 people were received at the hospital. Locals alleged that forces resorted to indiscriminate pellet and tear gas shelling and ransacked residential houses in the town. Clashes were going on till late evening, reports said.

Reports said a joint team of police and CRPF allegedly unleashed a reign of terror in Koundabal area of Manasbal in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district triggering massive resentment against the action. Locals alleged that dozens of residential houses were damaged by the forces and the belongings were also thrown out. Residents alleged that forces also entered into local masjid and detained three Nimazis. The district observed complete shutdown.

DEM CHIEF’S BROTHER DETAINED

Syed Taha Andrabi – brother of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) Chief Asiya Andrabi - alleged that he was detained by police from their residence in Chanapora locality of Srinagar. Andrabi is Joint Director, Technical Education.

POLICE VERSION

According to a statement issued by Police, curfew was lifted from Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Baramulla and most parts of Srinagar today. “However, curfew remained in force in the areas falling under the Police Stations of Maisuma, Batamaloo, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and M R Gunj,” the statement said. It said that 12 incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Sopore and Kupwara.

(With additional reporting from Zahid Maqbool, Ghulam Muhammad, Azim Jan, Sheikh Nazir, MA Dar)

 

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