DAY 82: Curfew returns to many parts as forces stop freedom rallies; 40 injured

DAY 82: Curfew returns to many parts as forces stop freedom rallies; 40 injured

Evening clashes in Srinagar, elderly man hit with pellets; ADC Srinagar injured; 67 arrested in 24 hours

Authorities on Wednesday imposed strict curfew in various parts of Kashmir to foil a series of pro-freedom rallies organised by locals on the call of joint resistance leadership.

At least 40 people sustained pellet and tear gas shell injuries in the forces’ action across Kashmir. An elderly man was hit by pellets at Karfali Mohalla in old Srinagar when he was coming out of masjid. 

Ninety persons including two cops have been killed in the past 82 days even as  complete shutdown continues across Kashmir.

South Kashmir: At least 20 people were injured in the clashes that erupted in Qaimoh area of Kulgam district after authorities foiled a pro-freedom march by imposing curfew. Reports said that forces clamped curfew in Qaimoh town and adjoining Khudwani and Redwani villages to thwart the proposed pro-freedom march. “The forces had erected barricades and laid spools of concertina wires at various entry points to prevent people from marching,” witnesses said. They said that huge contingent of police and paramilitary forces as well as army were deployed in the entire area. 

However, people from various villages- Buchroo, Yaripora, Frisal, Kujar, Bugam, Mohamadpora, Bogund, Hawoora defied curfew and started marching. “The forces intercepted them and lobbed tear shells and fired pellets resulting in injuries to at least 20 people,” witnesses said. The injured were treated in SDH-Qaimoh and PHCs. 

“The clashes continued throughout the day in Khudwani, Redwani and Hawoora,” witnesses said. Locals alleged that army and SOG men raided the house of Tehreek-I-Hurriyat (TeH) district president for Kulgam Muhamad Shaban Dar of Wanpora- Qaimoh and vandalized his property and beat up family members. The area is considered to be very volatile and militancy infested too. 

Forces also foiled Pahalgam chalo program by imposing restrictions. “At several places en-route Pahalgam barricades were erected and no one was allowed to move.” 

Protests erupted in Samboora village of Pampore against yesterday’s highhandedness by forces. “People in large numbers came out and raised pro-freedom slogans” The forces had yesterday ransacked houses, damaged property and beaten up inmates without any provocation. 15 people had sustained pellet and rubber bullet injuries in the subsequent clashes. Clashes erupted in Gudoora village of Pulwama where in few people sustained minor injuries.

North Kashmir:  At least six protesters were injured when police and CRPF men fired tear gas canisters and pellets to foil a pro-freedom rally in Hajin town of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Clashes erupted in Hajin near Khankah Masjid after government forces foiled "Hajin Chalo" and vandalized the venue of a proposed rally at main chowk. 

Protesters in large numbers took to streets in Hajin town and were chanting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Reports said that people of Hajin and its adjoining areas had planned a pro-freedom rally in main chowk. “But forces raided our town around 12 noon and sealed all routes leading to the freedom rally venue,” locals said. 

They said that people from adjoining areas tried to march towards Hajin but forces stopped them. “It was a peaceful march but forces started firing tear gas canisters and pellets resulting in intense clashes,” the eye witnesses said. “Clashes intensified near Khankah Masjid and Hajin Chowk in which at least six persons were injured due to pellets,” they added. 

The locals said that three injured civilians were rushed to PHC Hajin. The locals further said that the forces damaged electricity transformer. “While leaving the village forces damages several residential houses and made a few arrests,” the local said, adding that people erupted in protests seeking immediate release of the arrested civilians. 

Reports said that Baramulla witnessed a complete shutdown. All the shops were closed; however there was a visible partial movement of private transport. Reports said people offered joint Zuhr prayers on roads at Sopore after which a massive pro-freedom rally was held which passed through many areas and culminated at Chanakhan area. Pro-freedom rallies were staged as many places in Sopore that include Muslim Peer, Hathlangoo, Tujjar Sharif, Bomia and Dooru.

SRINAGAR: Evening clashes were reported from many areas of Srinagar that include Sekidafar, Nowpora, Khanyar, Hawal, Gojwara and Nawa Kadal. Reports said 70-year-old Muhammad Yousuf of Karfali Mohalla area of old Srinagar was hit by pellets when he was coming out of a local masjid after offering Asr prayers. Evening protests were also reported from Nowgam area of uptown while similar protests were held at Lasjan, Soiteng, Kursu Padashibagh and Azad Basti Natipora. Meanwhile, markets opened in Lal Chowk and old city after 6 PM on the call of joint resistance leadership.

ADC Srinagar injured: Repors said that Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Nazir Ahmad Baba, was seriously injured at Tengpora, Batamaloo, at 6:30 PM in a stone pelting incident when he was heading back to home from work. Later, Baba was shifted to SKIMS Bemina where doctors are treating him.

Central Kashmir: Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in Wakura area of Ganderbal in central Kashmir to prevent a march called by resistance leadership, reports said. The joint resistance leadership had asked people of Ganderbal to march towards Wakura. However, forces deployed in strength in the area amid restrictions prevented people from assembling.

Reports said some youth tried to hold a protest demonstration however police tried to disperse them, triggering clashes. Police had to use teargas shelling to disperse protesters.

Notably, clashes had erupted in the area on Tuesday evening after police arrested four youths and didn’t allow the Itehad Millat Conference. During clashes a few protesters and SHO Ganderbal were injured. Meanwhile, reports said that police arrested JKLF district president Ganderbal Bashir Ahmad Rather (Boya) on Tuesday evening and he has been lodged in police station Ganderbal. 

Reports from Budgam district suggested that curfew-like restrictions were imposed to foil Khag chalo. All the entry points were sealed to ensure no gathering takes place, report said. However, mild clashes erupted at block office, while protests were going on in the interiors of Khag area against the restrictions. Late evening reports said that youth from Nagbal and Poshkar areas tried to march towards tehsil headquarters who were pushed back by the forces.

Er Rasheed detained at Kishtwar: MLA Langate Er Rasheed was allegedly dragged, thrashed and detained on outskirts of Kishtwar. Reports said a five-member delegation led by Er Rasheed was on way to a four-day visit to Chenab Valley to assess the situation arisen due to alleged highhandedness of police and civil administration. As soon as Er Rasheed and his colleagues reached Chatroo Kishtwar, a heavy contingent of police stopped their vehicle and asked them to go back to Kashmir. “The concerned SHO started using harsh and rude language against Er Rasheed and when he refused to go back, cops trained their guns at him and later detained him,” a statement said.

Curfew relaxed in Kishtwar: The relaxation in curfew was extended for 10 hours on Wednesday in Kishtwar district of Jammu as the situation limped back to normalcy.

Curfew was relaxed from 8 am to 6 pm. With the lifting of restrictions, markets were abuzz with shoppers and commuters.

Curfew was imposed in the district on Sunday after protests and clashes erupted against the arrests of three people, including two Imams.

Police Version: According to a statement issued by police, situation across Kashmir remained by and large peaceful today. “No untoward incident was reported from anywhere,” it said. According to the statement during the day increased movement of traffic was observed in Srinagar city as also in main towns and on the inter-district roads and the shoppers thronged the markets in Srinagar city as well as in other towns of the valley. The statement said that continuing its drive against the “miscreants”; police arrested 67 such individuals during past 24 hours involved in different offences of causing disturbance in different parts of the valley in the recent past.

(With inputs from Altaf Baba, Gulam Muhammad, Irfan Ahmed, Eijaz-ul-Haq Bhat)