Naib tehsildar, CEO among wounded
A civilian was killed and at least 70 others, including students and two government officials, sustained injuries as protests rocked entire south Kashmir on Saturday following the killing of top Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad in a gunbattle with government forces in Tral area. The condition of one of the injured student is stated to be critical.
CIVILIAN KILLED IN TRAL:
A youth was killed and 20 others injured as government forces resorted to intense teargas shelling and fired pellets and bullets to stop people who were trying to march towards the encounter site at Soimoh village to help the holed up militants escape.
The deceased youth was identified as Aaqib Rashid Lone, 25, of Mildoora village of Tral.
“The deceased had bullet injury in his forehead and died minutes after he reached the hospital,” doctors at Sub District Hospital Tral told Greater Kashmir.
Lone- a Hafiz (one who has committed Quran to his memory) used to lead prayers at Khankah in Mildoora.
“The force personnel directly fired at him,” witnesses told this newspaper.
Three other youth who sustained bullet injuries were also shifted to SDH Tral where from they were shifted to Srinagar hospital. They were identified as Aabid Majid Sheikh of Darsaroo-Tral; Umar Majid Dar of Khasipora-Tral and Sahir Mushtaq of Khudwani-Kulgam.
“Aabid had sustained bullet injury in leg; Umar in abdomen and Sahir in feet,” doctors said.
Seventeen others sustained pellet injuries and were shifted to SDH Tral and PHC Darsaroo. “Three of the critically injured were referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar from SDH Tral and PHC Darsaroo,” medicos said.
People, including women from south Kashmir villages of Tral, Bijbehara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Awantipora and Anantnag were seen marching on feet and riding on motor bikes towards the encounter site since early morning. However, they were confronted on way by large posse of Police, paramilitary CRPF men and Army soldiers, who fired shells and resorted to intense aerial firing.
“People continued to offer stiff resistance and pelted stones and bricks on them,” witnesses said.
The forces had since early morning laid siege and closed roads leading towards encounter site at Saimoh as well Rathsuna- the native village of Sabzar and Tral.
“People were also making desperate attempts and even treading through orchards to reach near the encounter site even as army men fired hundreds of rounds in air near Gosoo village to disperse the people,” locals said.
Hundreds of youth amid pro-freedom and pro-Hizb slogans managed to reach near the encounter site and engaged government forces in fierce clashes for hours together in a bid to help militants escape. The forces fired live ammunition to quell the protests.
“Force personnel smashed window panes, ransacked house hold goods and beat up inmates,” locals alleged.
16 INJURED IN SHOPIAN
At least 16 persons were injured in the clashes between the protesters and the forces personnel that broke out in various areas across south Kashmir’s Shopian district as soon as the news about killing of Sabzar came in. A spontaneous shutdown was also observed in the area.
Witnesses said people clashed with government forces at Bonbazar and Gole Chowk in Shopian town; as well as Meemandar , Gagran and other adjoining villages.
Youth pelted stones on the government forces who resorted to intense tear shelling and pellet firing. At least sixteen people sustained injuries in the clashes.
“We received sixteen pellet injuries three of whom were shifted to SMHS,” doctors at District hospital Shopian told Greater Kashmir.
They said of those referred two had severe eye injuries while one had a severe fracture.
12 INJURED IN PULWAMA
At least a dozen people were injured in the protests and clashes that rocked south Kashmir’s Pulwama district as soon as the word about Hizb commander Sabzar spread in the area.
Massive protests erupted in main town-Pulwama, Newa and Tahab. Forces lobbed teargas shells and fired pellets to disperse the protesters.
“We received nine persons with pellet injuries, five of whom were shifted to SMHS,” doctors at district hospital Pulwama told Greater Kashmir.
PROTESTS IN KULGAM
Massive protests broke out in south Kashmir’s Kulgam and Qaimoh towns as soon as the word about Sabzar’s death spread. Students came out of the colleges and schools and clashed with forces. A few of the protesters received minor injuries in the clashes.
20 INJURED IN ANANTNAG
At least 20 persons sustained injuries as government forces used force to quell the protests in Anantnag, Mattan, Awantipora and Bijbehara towns on Saturday.
A Naib Tehsildar on Magisterial duty was hit by pellets while Chief Education Officer (CEO) Anantnag sustained injury after being hit by a stone on head. Five students sustained injuries after paramilitary CRPF men allegedly barged inside Government Higher Secondary School (Boys) Mattan and fired live ammunition on the students who were staging protests inside the school premises.
“As soon as the news about Sabzars killing broke – students started protesting,” witnesses said.
They said some students came out and threw a few stones towards the nearby CRPF camp. However, teachers took control of the situation, and brought them inside after which they started protesting peacefully inside the school premises.
“The angry CRPF men, however, broke inside the school and beat up the students and resorted to intense tear shelling,” said one of the female teachers.
One of the student identified as Sameer Ahmad son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat of Khulchuhar-Mattan a class 12th student was hit by a teargas shell on his head and is his condition is stated to be critical.
Four other injured students were treated at District hospital Anantnag.
Teachers alleged that CRPF personnel used brute force without any provocation. “A lady officer threatened of orchestrating a massacre, when we confronted them,” said a female teacher.
Massive protests also broke out in Anantnag town.
“ Youth pelted stones at the government forces at Lal Chowk, Janglat Mandi, Khanabal, KP road and old areas,” witnesses said.
They said the forces lobbed teargas shells and also fired pellets.
“We received 16 injuries – most of them pellet and tear shell,” said a doctor at District hospital.
Naib Tehsildar-Anantnag- Muhamad Shafi on magisterial duty was also injured after government forces fired pellets towards the protesters at Khwaja Bazar- Janglat Mandi. “Shafi had pellet injuries on his face and arm,” doctors said.
Violent clashes also broke out in Bijbehara, Sangam, Awantipora and Pampore towns.
Chief Education Officer (CEO)- Anantnag G R Shah was injured after he was hit by a stone during clashes near Uranhall village of Bijbehara.
“The CEO was travelling in his vehicle,” an official said.