A youth drowned in river Jehlum at Sangam, Anantnag (Islamabad), late Friday evening when forces chased a group of protestors amid firing of pellets.
The youth's body was fished out from Jehlum by the locals on Saturday morning triggering massive protests in the area. The deceased was identified as 24-year-old Shahnawaz Ahmad Khan (Khatana), son of Iqbal Khan, a resident of Gujar Basti- Dadoo Marhama area of Sangam. He is survived by his wife and a child.
At least 50 people were injured in the day-long clashes with the forces across Kashmir, reports and witnesses said. With the fresh death, the death toll in the past 50 days of widespread unrest has reached 70 with more than 8000 persons sustaining injuries, over 500 of them receiving serious pellet injuries in eyes.
Witnesses said that three youth jumped into river Jhelum near Marhama-Sangam to escape from the forces who came charging and firing pellets and lobbing tear canisters on protesters near Kiapora village of Marhama on Friday evening. "While two of them managed to swim to the banks safely, one remained untraced until today morning when his body was fished out from the river," locals said. Three people had sustained pellet injuries in the forces action.
CRPF spokesman Rajeshwar Yadav told Greater Kashmir that the CRPF men are supposed to chase the stone-pelting protesters. "What can you expect from CRPF men when there is a stone-pelting mob? We are supposed to chase them," he said. Yadav said that they didn't push any protester into the river. "We have not caught somebody and pushed him into the river. They (protesters) jumped on their own and it is for them to see whether they could swim or not," he said.
As soon as the body of Khan was fished out from river Jehlum, locals came out and held protest demonstration at Sangam and Marhama. "People then carried his body to his native village of Dadoo where his funeral prayers were held amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans," reports said.
He was laid to rest amid sobs. A dozen people were injured after the government forces burst teargas shells and fired pellets to foil a rally in twin villages of Bugam and Bolsoo in Kulgam district.
"The forces personnel ransacked the houses and thrashed the inmates without any provocation," residents alleged. They said as people came out to protest, forces fired pellets and lobbed tear gas canisters. "At least 12 people sustained injuries who were admitted in District hospital Kulgam and Anantnag," reports said. They said two of the seriously injured- one of whom was identified as Suhail Ahmad – had pellet injuries in eyes and head and were referred to Srinagar.
However, the pro-freedom rally was later held in restive Bugam, where no vote was polled during 2014 assembly election out of total of around 6000. Witnesses said around twenty-thousand people attended the rally where pro-freedom slogans were raised and Pakistani flags waved.
People from several Kulgam villages like Bolsoo, Mohanpora, Areh, Bachroo, Tarigam, Yaripora, Frisal and Kujar, Nehama, Pombay, Chawlagam, attended the Ittehadi Millat (unity) rally of various sects, they said. Another pro-freedom rally in the district was held in Nowpora-Kharpora village of Qaimoh. Pro-freedom rallies were also organized in Kanjivular village of adjoining Shopian district and Yaar village of Pulwama. An all-women rally was also held at Barbugh in Imam Sahib area Shopian. Massive protest demonstrations were held in Chandigam- Rajpora- native village of a youth Shakeel Ahmad- killed in forces firing in Hall village. Shakeel, a BA 1st year student had passed class 12th with 80 percent marks. Curfew remained in force in Anantnag, Pulwama, Pampore, Kulgam and Shopian towns for 50 consecutive day. Despite intermittent rains, reports of protests and clashes were also received from Kaimoh and adjoining villages of Khudwani, Redwani in Kulgam district and Doochnipora villages of Bijbehara.
Locals in Dochnipora villages – Kanilwan, Naanil, Veer, Gur- alleged that army men removed the banners, posters and photographs of militants pasted on walls of the village. There have been reports of massive crackdown against protesters with reports of nocturnal raids and arrests all over South Kashmir. Late evening reports said that clashes broke out at Nambal village of Mattan, in which four youth sustained injuries. Clashes were reported from Sangam area of Anantnag district also. Meanwhile, police raided the medial camp set up by the local youth in the premises of district hospital Anantnag and threatened to set it ablaze in case they don't close it. Reports said that cops snatched the identity cards and cell phones of volunteers, a group of volunteers alleged.
Three minors detained, beaten up:
People of Kaimoh alleged that paramilitary forces on Friday afternoon rounded up three minors and beat them up mercilessly. "The minors aged between 8 and 12 were picking apples from their orchards when CRPF men suddenly appeared, got hold of them, and took them along. They were severely beaten up with bamboo sticks and gun butts, detained and later released in the evening," said the locals and family members. They identified the minors as Basit Rehman, 12; Huzaib, 8 and Saahil, 10 from Gulshanabad-Kaimoh. "The minors have received bruises all over the body."
ARMY DRAWS 'RED LINE' FOR BB CANT MARCH:
While authorities imposed strict curbs across Srinagar to foil the march to Badami Bagh Cantonment that houses the Army's 15 Corps headquarters, witnesses said all the roads leading to BB Cant were sealed with barbed wires amid heavy deployment of Police and Army. Army vehicles could be seen at various points from Pantha Chowk to Sonwar. No one was allowed to move on the road, witnesses said. Army men deployed on the road had erected red flags besides a barricade a few hundred meters away from the main entrance gate of the 15 Corps headquarters. Red flags were indicator for the people not to cross the point. A police official said that they were directed to impose strict restrictions on the road stretch from Sonwar to Pantha Chowk. "Only Ambulances were allowed to move freely on the road while rest of the vehicles were asked to take alternate route," he said.
Joint resistance leadership were supposed to march towards 15 Corps headquarters and to handover letters to the Army commander asking them to leave Kashmir.
Geelani detained, Mirwaiz lodged in Sub-jail Chesmashahi:
Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani was detained when he tried to step out of his Hyderpora residence to march towards Army's 15 Corps headquarters. He was stopped by the police from marching ahead and lodged in police station Humhama. Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) has been lodged in Sub-Jail Cheshmashahi, a Hurriyat spokesman said. He said that Mirwaiz was taken to police station Nigeen on Friday evening where from he was taken to sub-jail Cheshmashahi late in the evening. JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik continues to languish in Central Jail Srinagar.
While old Srinagar areas remained under siege for the 50th consecutive day, stringent curbs were in place in other parts of the district that include city centre Lal Chowk. Roads were sealed with concertina wires at Jehangir Chowk, Rambagh, Shaheed Gunj, Dalgate, Ghanta Ghar (clock tower), Residency road, Regal Chowk, Zero bridge and Ram Munishbag.
Reports of evening clashes poured in from old Srinagar areas that include Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Bemina, Chattabal, Noorbagh, Sekidafar and Rajouri Kadal. Reports said that youth set ablaze the effigy of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at Ganderpora, Eidgah amid pro-freedom slogans.
Reports of evening protests also poured in from Lasjan, Kursu-Padshahibagh, while a torch procession was held at Nowgam after Magrhib prayers. Peaceful protests were also held at Lawapora and HMT. Reports said as the deployment of forces was withdrawn, a massive protest rally was held from Nowhatta that passed through many areas and later culminated at Rangerstop peacefully.
At least 29 persons were injured during clashes that erupted in Hanjiveera, Pattan against the alleged vandalisation of residential houses by a joint team of police and paramilitary CRPF. The protestors were heading for highway, but were prevented by the forces. Police lobbed scores of teargas shells and as the clashes intensified, police fired pellets at the demonstrating youth leading to injury to 29 youth including a woman.
Four youth with eye injury were shifted to Srinagar hospital for treatment. Locals told Greater Kashmir that at least 20 residential houses were damaged in Hanjiveer. "Police and paramilitary CRPF men broke windows, doors and also vandalised other belongings," residents of Hanjiveer alleged.
In Pattan area, a father and son were injured during brief clashes that erupted in Pattan market in the morning. According to reports, police lobbed scores of teargas shells after a group of youths start pelting stones in Pattan main market. A chicken seller and his son were injured in the incident.
In Bangdara, Kreeri, locals held a strong protest demonstration on Saturday morning against vandalisation of property by cops on Friday evening. According to locals, soon after clashes in Choor area ended on Friday evening, the police raided the Bangdara village and ransacked scores of residential houses. Police also damaged scores of vehicles in the incident.
"Police vandalised residential houses and damaged scores of vehicles. Home appliances including fridges, TV, washing machines were also damaged. They also thrashed scores of youths and some elderly persons. The loss is worth lakhs," said Muhammad Ramzan of Bangdara, Kreeri.
Following the incident, local residents including women held a strong protest demonstration against police on Saturday morning. The protesters amid pro freedom slogans marched in the area and demanded stern action against the erring cops.
In Baramulla town strict restrictions remained in force on Friday. All the bridges connecting old town with civil lines area were sealed. People in old town Baramulla held a pro-freedom protest demonstration. The protesters later offered afternoon prayers in the main chowk Azad Gunj. Reports of massive pro freedom demonstration by women on Friday evening were also reported from old town Baramulla.
Reports from Sopore said that a complete shutdown was observed across the town while clashes were reported from Batpora, Ashpeer and Main Chowk. Forces fired several shots in the air to disperse the protestors. Reports said that many pedestrians were allegedly beaten in Batpora area of Sopore. Reports said that peaceful protests were held in Zainageer, Bomai, Warpora, Dooru, Seelu, Tarzoo, Nowpora, Brathkalan while there were strict curbs in main chowk Arampora, Shalpora, Chotabazar, Khoshalmatoo and other areas. Residents of Mohalla Baghat, Sopore alleged that the Army broke windowpanes and glasses of many residential houses. A resident Dr Muhammad Sidiq alleged: "The Army men put gun on my mother's throat saying kya tum ko bhi azaadi chahiye (do you also want Azadi)' and then one of the officers ordered his juniors to break all glasses and threatened to return in the night also."
Reports from Kupwara district suggested that curfew remained in force in Kupwara district while residents of Mugalpora staged a sit-in at Helpal against the detention of youth. Protests were reported from Madmadu, Kalaroos against the alleged damage of residential houses. Clashes were also reported from Younsu Wahipora, Langate and Supernaghama.
Apart from mild clashes at Qazibagh, Ichgam and Mazhama villages of the district, a complete shutdown was observed elsewhere in Central Kashmir's Budgam district. One youth sustained pellet injuries at Qazibagh who was treated at SDH Kresmshora. Reports said that peaceful protests were held at Yarigund, Kawoosa village.
Reports from Badegund in Central Kashmir's Ganderbal district said that clashes broke out in the area against the alleged vandalisation of property by the forces. Similar reports poured in from Wussan area of Ganderbal where locals said that five persons were allegedly beaten by the forces. A doctor at the Primary Health Centre Wussan said that they received five persons with head injuries to two while the rest of the three were having arm and leg fractures.
RAJOURI, POONCH OBSERVE SHUTDOWN:
Complete shutdown was observed by Muslim community today in Rajouri and Poonch districts against the civilian killings in Kashmir. All the shops, business establishments and educational institutions of Muslim community were closed while traffic was off the roads.
The Zonal Police Headquarters today said that barring five incidents of stone pelting in Anantnag, Shopian and Bandipora, overall situation remained peaceful and under control across Kashmir valley. "However, curfew was imposed in Srinagar city, Anantnag, Pulwama and Pampore towns," it said.
(With additional reporting from Altaf Baba, Ghulam Muhammad, Sheikh Nazir, M A Dar)