At least 60 people sustained pellet and teargas shell injuries when forces foiled pro-freedom rallies in various areas of Kashmir on Sunday, witnesses and reports said. 20 youth were detained in old Srinagar areas, triggering massive protests, they said.
Reports said forces foiled pro-freedom rallies in South Kashmir and also imposed strict restrictions at various district headquarters to prevent any major pro-freedom gatherings.
At least 40 people were injured as forces continued to use force to foil pro-freedom rallies in South Kashmir areas. Curfew was also clamped in Shopian town in the wake of a march called to the area (for South Kashmir residents) by Kashmir's joint resistance camp. Reports said 30 people sustained injuries in Manzgam in DH Pora area of Kulgam in clashes that erupted after forces foiled a freedom rally-cum-unity conference (Itihad-I-Millat conference) of various sects.
"As people were making arrangements for the rally, forces raided the venue and vandalized it," witnesses said.
They said as people protested, forces lobbed teargas shells and fired pellets, triggering clashes which soon spread to other villages. In the ensuing clashes, which were on till last reports came in, at least 30 people sustained injuries, witnesses said. Health officials said 17 persons, most of them hit with pellet injuries, are being treated at Primary Health Center at DH Pora and District Hospital Kulgam. Army was also reportedly deployed in the area to stop people from marching towards the venue.
The police, meanwhile, imposed stringent curfew in Shopian town and its adjoining villages to foiled a pro-freedom march. The call for the march was given by joint resistance leadership.
Witnesses said in the evening, when the deployed forces were being withdrawn, youth clashed with forces at Bongam, Bonbazar, Baba Mohalla and Golchakri areas. "Six people were injured in the clashes and were hospitalized," they said.
People in Dadsara village of Tral accused forces of letting loose a reign of terror in the area and damaging property worth crores of rupees during the intervening night. "The forces barged into houses at midnight, thrashed inmates and vandalized property including electric appliances and kitchen items," locals alleged. They said the forces even threw away eatables including rice. "The forces also damaged several vehicles parked in several houses," locals alleged. They also accused forces of ransacking the property of local Primary Health Center and also damaging its ambulance.
The forces' action triggered massive protests in the village early on Sunday morning. Reports of nocturnal raids and damage to household property by forces also poured in from Padgampora village of Awantipora in Pulwama district. "The forces without any provocation barged into houses and ransacked household goods and beat up inmates," locals said.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in entire South Kashmir. Restrictions were put in place in all small and major towns including Anantang, Pulwama, Kulgam, Awantipora, Pampore, Tral, Kakpora and Bijbehara.
Meanwhile, according to the District Magistrate Shopian, there will be curfew on 19th September 2016 in village Vehil and its adjacent areas from dawn to dusk in view of protest-cum-Vehil chalo call.
Police have booked 13 youth including personal driver of Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani at Tral and Awantipora during the past few days and shifted them to different jails in Jammu, reports said.
There were strict restrictions and complete shutdown in Kupwara district with heavy deployment of forces during the day. All entry and exit points of Kupwara town were sealed by forces with barbed wire and barricades. Following ransacking of residential houses and other property in Hayan village of Kupwara on September 14 allegedly by the Army, the residents of Hayen approached Judicial Magistrate Kupwara for registering of case against the accused forces.
In the application, the residents who suffered losses alleged that on September 14, at around 8 am, an army convoy which was on way to Trehgam from Kupwara stopped at Hayan and started stone-pelting on nearby residential houses without any provocation.
"Later they entered into court yards and damaged vehicles, smashed all windowpanes, manhandled inmates including elders and children and resorted to aerial firing, causing fear among the residents," the complainants have alleged. "Due to harassment, the psyche of children has been badly affected."
On his party, the Judicial magistrate Kupwara has directed SHO Trehgam to investigate the case and lodge an FIR under rules.
Reports from Bandipora district said hundreds of people on Sunday defied restrictions and marched towards Eidgah. They said people from various localities of Bandipora including Papchan, Plan, Ajar, Ayathmulla, Kaloosa, Nowpora and other adjoining villages assembled at Gulshan Chowk and marched through the inner streets of Bandipora town. Later, according to witnesses, the rally marched towards the Eidgah. Locals had called for a march to local Eidgah on Sunday. Witnesses said various religious and resistance leaders and members of Dukhtaran-e-Millat addressed the gathering at Eidgah. The rally later culminated peacefully.
Meanwhile, police sealed all entry and exit points leading towards Bandipora district to thwart "Bandipora chalo' call issued by the joint resistance camp. Reports said army has also been deployed in Ajar near Ranger Khan and Kaloosa areas. Reports from Sopore said major rallies were held in Botengoo, Chanikhan, Muslim Peer, and Bomai areas and all of them ended peacefully. Late evening reports said two people sustained injuries when forces fired pellets and resorted to aerial firing at Panzgam in Kupwara district.
While old Srinagar areas remained under strict curbs, massive protests were witnessed in Safa Kadal, Nopora, Chai Doub, Malin Anagan, and other adjoining areas against the "arrest spree" by police. Residents of Safa Kadal area said 20 youth have been detained by police on charges of stone pelting, triggering protests in the area. Residents said that forces fired dozens of teargas shells to disperse the protestors who were demanding immediate release of the detained youth. Reports said a massive protest rally started from Nowhatta Chowk after Magrib prayers. The protestors first held funeral prayers in-absentia for 11-year-old boy who was killed in forces' action at New Theed Harwan on Friday. As the protestors marched towards Radpora Stadium, police intervened and fired dozens of teargas shells to disperse the protestors. Reports of clashes also poured in from Khanyar, Batamaloo, Qamarwari, Rainawari, Hawal, Gojwara, and Nawakadal. A torch procession was also held at Nowgam while clashes were held at Lasjan, Soiteng and Hyderpora.
A complete shutdown was observed in entire Ganderbal district. To foil "Ganderbal chalo" program called by the residents, the camp police had erected concertina wire and barricades on roads connecting Ganderbal with other districts, and no traffic movement was allowed.
Meanwhile, the condition of Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Kuchey of Checkpora Wussan (admitted in Bone and Joints hospital Barzulla) and Bashir Ahmad Shah and Raheela Begam of Pethpora Wussan (admitted in SKIMS) after being hit with bullets and pellets a day before, is stated to be stable. Reports from Budgam district said curbs remained in place to foil Budgam chalo.
'56 STONE-PELTERS ARRESTED'
At least 56 youth, suspected to be involved in stone pelting incidents have been arrested since yesterday as part of police's effort to restore normalcy in the Kashmir, a police spokesman said in a statement.
"Continuing its drive against the trouble-mongers involved in damaging civilian vehicles, shops, houses and placing obstructions on roads, police arrested 56 miscreants during the last 24 hours," the spokesman said. "Overall situation in the Valley is under control today. Apart from few stone-pelting incidents in Kulgam, Kupwara and Awantipora, overall situation remained under control across the Valley. There was increased vehicular movement on city roads as well as between various districts and towns."
The spokesman said restriction under section 144 of CrPC remained in force in Kashmir.
"However, curfew was imposed under the areas of some police stations in Srinagar city and in Shopian town," he said. "Minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Sadoora in Kulgam, Padgampora in Awantipora and Panzgam in Kupwara. At these places miscreants assembled on roads and pelted stones on police and security force deployments. They were dispersed by using mild force."
(With inputs from Ghulam Muhammad, Sheikh Nazir, Eijaz-ul-Haq Bhat)