A teenager was killed when forces fired a tear-gas shell at him in Malarata area of old Srinagar on Sunday evening, while at least 100 protestors were injured in forces' action across Kashmir.
Witnesses said Irfan Fayaz Wani, 19, a resident of Malik Angan, Fateh Kadal left his home at 6 pm, only to return dead.
Witnesses said mild clashes were going on in Malarata where Irfan sustained tear-gas shell injury. "He was hit in his chest," they said, adding: "He was immediately shifted to SMHS hospital in a critical condition. Doctors there said Irfan's heart had got ruptured as the tear-gas shell had directly hit him on the left side of his chest."
"We were helpless as his injury was grave. He died within five minutes of being received at the hospital," a doctor who attended to him said.
With the fresh killing, the death toll has reached 67 while least 7000 people have got injured in the forces' action, with 500 of them hit by pellets in their eyes and a vast majority of them on the verge of losing their eye-sight.
As the news of Irfan's death spread, hundreds of youth took to streets in Srinagar areas amid pro-freedom sloganeering. Reports said Irfan's body was taken to Jamia Masjid first where thousands of people—defying night curfew—attended his funeral prayers after which his body was taken to Martyrs' Graveyard Eidgah for burial. Massive clashes triggered by Irfan's killing were reported from Baba Demb, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Fateh Kadal, Karan Nagar, Chattabal, Habba Kadal, Chottabazar and other adjoining areas. People were seen rushing to Fateh Kadal amid pro-freedom slogans.
Reports of intense clashes also poured in from Nowgam, Chanapora, Lasjan, Hyderpora and Peerbagh areas of uptown Srinagar. Earlier in the day, strict curbs remained in place across Srinagar including the city centre Lal Chowk. Police had sealed roads at several junctions including Jehangir Chowk, Dalgate, TRC Crossing, Zero Bridge, Ram Munshi Bagh and Pantha Chowk, causing huge inconvenience to people.
Official sources said in the wake of a fresh killing in Srinagar, strict curfew will remain in place across the district on Monday.
'Irfan, an Orphan'
Irfan's father, Fayaz Ahmed Wani, had died 11 months back, his relatives said. They said Irfan was the lone-breadwinner of his family comprising two unmarried sisters and a handicapped brother. "Forces snatched everything from us. They should kill us too," Irfan's sisters, who were wailing, said.
Two youth sustained pellet injuries and one of them was hit in both eyes in clashes in Anantnag (Islamabad) town even as curfew and restrictions continued to remain in place in major towns for the 44th straight day. Reports said two youth were hit when forces fired pellets on protesters in Moominabad locality of Anantnag town late on Sunday afternoon. One of them, a 21-year-old B.Tech student—Aadil Rashid of Moominabad—has been hit in both eyes and chest and was rushed to Srinagar's SMHS hospital. Another youth has been hit in arm and is under treatment at District Hospital. The incident triggered further protests and clashes at Janglat Mandi, right outside the Hospital premises. Clashes were also reported from Khananbal area. Violent clashes also erupted in the evening near Uran Hall and Pazalpora Bijbehara on Srinagar-Jammu Highway. Forces fired pellets and lobbed tear-gas shells on protesters. The clashes were on when this report was filed.
Meanwhile, massive pro-freedom rallies continued to be held across South Kashmir. The rallies have become a routine since the eruption of ongoing uprising triggered by the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8. Thousands of people from several villages of Pulwama district marched towards Parigam to participate in a pro-freedom rally. The participants were raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. A similar rally was held in Wasoora and Ruhmoo areas of the district. The rallies—besides religious scholars of various sects—were also addressed by Tehreek-I-Hurriyat (TeH) District President Shakeel Ahmad.
In Ruhmoo rally, 22 Panchs and two Sarpanchs announced to cut off their ties with all pro-Indian parties and join the ongoing freedom movement. The Panchayat representatives were affiliated to PDP, Congress and NC, local residents said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in pro-freedom rallies in Muloo Chitragam in Shopian. People from many Shopian villages were seen thronging the venue, treading several miles by foot, riding bikes and reaching there in cars, load carriers and trucks. The rallies were addressed by religious clerics of various sects—Deobandis, Barelvis, Ahlihadiths and Jamat-I-Islami besides Tehreek-I-Hurriyat District President Shopian Muhamad Yousuf Falahi.
Another rally—which was part of unity conference (Itihad-I-Millat) of various sects was held in Turki Taschul in Kaimoh area of Kulgam. Sheikh Ramzan and Tehreek-I-Hurriyat District President Muhammad Shaban also addressed the conference. Similar rally was held in Breenthi Batpora in Dailgam village in Anantnag district which was addressed by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat District President Mir Hafizullah and Democratic Freedom Party leader, Er Farooq Ahmad Khan. People in these rallies were raising anti-India, pro-Pakistan and pro-freedom slogans, witnesses said. Pakistani flags were also waved, they said.
Reports of protests also poured in from Sangam, Charsoo, Nayina, Achabal, Vessu, Qazigund, Tral, Tahab and Kakpora areas.
South Kashmir residents alleged that forces have unleashed terror in several localities. "Police, CRPF and Army have launched a crackdown and are conducting nocturnal raids in towns and villages and arresting youth allegedly involved in protests. At several places, people have been resisting their moves, triggering clashes. People make announcements through mosque loudspeakers once forces reach their areas to foil their attempts," reports said.
They said many people have suffered injuries in the forces' action while houses are being also ransacked and inmates beaten up. "Several youth have also been rounded up," according to witnesses, while many have left their homes to evade arrests but their parents and siblings are now being rounded up instead.
Meanwhile, day and night curfew remained in place in Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam and Pampore towns.
At least 70 people sustained pellet and tear-gas shell injuries in forces' action at Behrampora, Rafiabad in Baramulla district. Witnesses said forces opened fire on peaceful protestors without any provocation. Block Medical Officer Dangiwacha Dr Maqbool confirmed that 70 people had sustained injuries. However, none was stated to be critical.
In another incident, six people including few guests who had come to attend a marriage ceremony at Haygam, Trumgund in Sopore area, were injured on Sunday, witnesses said.
"Forces fired dozens of tear-gas shells at people who were protesting against the detention of youth. There were some guests who had come to attend a marriage ceremony and became the target of forces," witnesses said.
Reports said police picked two youth from Khawaja Bagh area of Baramulla during a nocturnal raid and beat an employee while many women sustained injuries while protesting the raid. The raid was conducted in Qadeem Muhalla. According to the residents, police and SOG personnel barged into a house and resorted to ransacking of property besides breaking its windowpanes.
"Police tried to open our entry gate but it was locked from inside. They forcibly broke our walls to enter inside," the family members said.
Police also beat up females present inside the house and aimed guns at minors who were sleeping. "They threatened to kill our three-month-old kid if we didn't hand over our male members to them," said a female family member. "They unleashed a reign of terror and hurled big stones on our house, breaking all the glasses and windows."
After the family opposed the arrests and raised slogans, police allegedly beat up females inside the house, asking them to remain silent. "They hurled teargas shells inside our rooms which frightened our kids and other members who were sleeping."
The policemen, according to the family members "crossed all limits" and "abused females for making hue and cry."
J&K police allegedly thrashed an employee of National Hydel Power Corporation, Arshad Ahmad, who had come out of his house following protests in the area. Arshid said after receiving beating, the policemen tried to bundle him in an armoured vehicle. "But I was released on spot after blood started oozing out of my head. I was standing near my gate and suddenly five cops ran towards me and beat me up with gun-butts on my head and lower back," Arshad said. "I have got 10 stitches in my head."
Meanwhile, strict restrictions continued in many areas of Kupwara district that include Town, Sulkoote, Rigipora, Baterga, Trehgam, Kralpora, Lalpora, Langate, Handwara, Kralgund and other areas.
An imam (prayer leader) was ruthlessly beaten by army men in Sopore on Srinagar-Kupwara road when he was on way from Srinagar to his residence in Kupwara. The injured imam, who leads prayers in a Srinagar mosque, has been hospitalized at Sub-district hospital Kupwara. Qari Naseer Ahmad Sheikh (28), a resident of Halmatpora village of Kupwara was returning home from Khanqah-e-Moula area of Srinagar after a month's time where he leads prayers at Masjid Mir Syed Muhammad Hamadani Shameswari.
SSP Kupwara Shamshair Hussain said: "I have taken up the matter of beating of Imam with SP Sopore and DIG North Kashmir."
The residents said this was not the first incident on the highway. "Every person who takes this road is asked to move on foot and show his identity proof. Without any reason, commuters particularly civilians and drivers get thrashing from army men," commuters said.
Reports said massive clashes erupted at Kangan area of Ganderbal after forces detained three members of a family during a nocturnal raid. The family members were identified as two brothers, Tariq Ahmed Malik and Tasaduq Malik and their cousin, Abdul Hameed. The incident triggered massive protests in the area, prompting forces to use teargas shells in which six people and two cops got injured. Meanwhile, reports said, peaceful protests were held at Fatehpora, Ganderbal while youth were seen collecting food and other stuff for the needy at Gund.
Reports from Budgam district said forces resorted to smashing of residential houses in the evening.
They said forces damaged Girls Higher Secondary School Nagam in Chadoora. The incident triggered massive protests in the area. Forces fired pellets and tear gas shells at protestors, injuring at least six of them. Residents alleged that forces also damaged 10 motorcycles. Meanwhile, entire district observed a complete shutdown.
According to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters, Kashmir, three incidents of stone pelting were reported from Ganderbal and Sopore. "These incidents were reported from Kangan in Ganderbal, Trumgund and Behrampora in Sopore. The miscreants assembled on roads and pelted stones on police and security forces," the statement said.
The statement further said apart from these incidents, the situation remained under control across Kashmir. The restrictions under section 144/Cr PC remained in force in Kashmir. However, curfew was imposed in Srinagar, town Anantnag and Pampore only," it read.