NO LET-UP IN CLASHES, 80 MORE INJURED

Amid complete shutdown and curfew-like restrictions in various Kashmir areas, over 80 people including four women protestors sustained injuries due to pellets and tear-gas shelling in fresh clashes on Thursday—the 27th straight day of unrest in the Valley.
NO LET-UP IN CLASHES, 80 MORE INJURED
A pro-freedom rally in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district Photo: Mir Wasim/GK

Amid complete shutdown and curfew-like restrictions in various Kashmir areas, over 80 people including four women protestors sustained injuries due to pellets and tear-gas shelling in fresh clashes on Thursday—the 27th straight day of unrest in the Valley. At least 60 people were injured in South Kashmir areas alone where people had organized pro-freedom rallies.

SRINAGAR

While old Srinagar areas witnessed stringent curbs for the 27th straight day, evening clashes rocked Chattabal, Khanyar, Qamarwari, Safa Kadal, Bohri Kadal, Sekidafar and Rainawari areas.

At many places in old Srinagar, locals alleged forces broke windowpanes of residential houses without any provocation.  In Batamaloo area, big candlelight protest march was held after evening prayers in which 

women and children, apart from youth, participated. A torch procession was also held at Nowgam area in the evening and clashes also took place there in which two youth sustained injuries, witnesses said.  Youth took out a massive protest march from various old Srinagar areas, but forces intercepted it near Babademb and fired teargas shells to disperse the protestors.

Protests and candlelight marches were also held in Mehjoor Nagar, Rawalpora, Lasjan, Hyderpora and other areas of uptown Srinagar. In Chanapora and Natipora areas, people offered 'Zuhr' prayers on roads.

Meanwhile, two people were injured when CRPF fired pellets at Khanqah-e-Sokhta Nawakadal in Old Srinagar late on Thursday evening. One of them was identified as Ghulam Hassan, a local resident.

SOUTH KASHMIR

At least 60 people were injured after police and CRPF personnel used force to break pro-freedom demonstrations across South Kashmir, even as curfew continued to remain in place in several towns for the 27th running day. Dozens were wounded when forces intercepted a pro-freedom rally at Bongam and Bonbazar areas of Shopian town. People from several villages—Turkiwangam, Pahnoo, Pahlipora, Mulu-Chitragam, Wachi, Heff and Penz—marched in a procession towards the main town, witnesses said. 

They said a 'car and bike rally' was also held simultaneously. "People were carrying Pakistani flags and shouting pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans," they said, adding: "As the rally reached Bongam, forces intercepted it and resorted to baton-charge, fired tear-gas shells and pellets injuring at least 30 protesters who were being treated at different local Primary Health Centers."

The clashes soon spread to Bonbazar and other areas of the town.

A Pakistani flag was hoisted at Gole-Chakri, witnesses said.

Nocturnal protests rocked several villages after forces conducted midnight raids and allegedly smashed windowpanes of several houses in Kanipora, Alyalpora, Pinjoora, Pahlipora, Pahnoo, Trenz, and Bagandar on Wednesday night.

"People used public address systems of mosques to call for help. Following this, hundreds of people filled the streets," said a witness.  This triggered clashes with the forces in which at least six youth were injured, he said. "One of the critically injured youth was beaten up mercilessly by the forces with gun-butts and has been referred to SKIMS Srinagar from district hospital Shopian," doctors said.

Pro-freedom rally was also in Wachi area. It passed through Zainpaora, Menander and other areas. Hurriyat Conference (G) District President Muhammad Yousuf Falahi also addressed it.

At least a dozen people were wounded when forces fired teargas shells and pellets to quell a pro-freedom rally at Srigufwara village of Bijbrehara in Anantnag district, witnesses said. Forces also used force to quell a pro-freedom demonstration at Seer and Aishmuqam areas of Pahlagam, witnesses said, adding: "Several people were injured in the forces' action."

A massive gathering of people and clerics from different sects was also held in Aang village of Bijbehara. Clerics from Deobandi school of thought, Saut-ul Awlia, Ahlihadith and Jamat-I-Islami addressed the gathering. Besides, District President of Hurriyat (G) Mir Hafizullah, Democratic Freedom Party leaders Engineer Farooq Khan, Mukhtar Sofi and Sheikh Zahoor also spoke on the occasion. Similar gatherings were held in Daniv Kandimarg, Sandoo and other villages of Kulgam district. Four people sustained injuries after police and CRPF men used force to quell a pro-freedom demonstration in the area.

Protests were also reported from Kaimoh villages of the district, and Khudwani, Redwani, Rampura, Frisal, Kujar and Yaripora areas. Women and children were also part of various protest demonstrations.

Massive protests were held in Lethpora area of Awantipora where a youth was killed and another critically injured in firing by ADC Ramban's guards on Tuesday evening. In Pulwama, protest demonstrations were held at Murran, Chatipora and Ruhumu. People also offered Zuhr prayers on roads in these areas.

Protest demonstrations also took place in Qazigund, Vessu, Kokernag, Dooru and Verinag. Police sources said at least 55 youth have been detained in Awantipora alone while over 25 vehicles which were used by protestors to reach various destinations were also seized. Meanwhile, curfew continued in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Kakpora. Protest demonstrations were however held in the evening in these areas.

TRAL

Four persons received pellet injuries in clashes between forces and protestors in Tral area. Witnesses said youth resorted to heavy stone-pelting on a CRPF camp in Trali-Bala on Thursday. "Forces tried to chase away protestors who offered stiff resistance and attacked the forces from different directions. The clashes continued throughout the day. Forces resorted to pellet and teargas shelling," they said.

A Health department official at SDH Tral said four youth were received with pellet injuries and one of them has been shifted to Srinagar.

Meanwhile, people from different villages including Pinglish, Rathsuna, Siamoh, Buchoo took out a rally and tried to march towards Srinagar-Jammu highway, but were intercepted by forces midway. The forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling, residents said.

The night traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway resumed on Thursday after it was closed following the killing of Lethpora youth.

NORTH KASHMIR

Restrictions were in place in Kupwara district for the 27th consecutive day. Reports said protests took place in Trehgam, Kalaroos, and Nutnoosa areas. At Trehgam, a police offer was injured while a youth sustained teargas shell injury in clashes.  Reports said 6 people including women were injured when police used pellet guns to disperse protestors who had closed Handwara-Baramulla road at Chotipora.  One of the injured youth has been referred to Srinagar. Protests were on in the area till late in the evening. 

Meanwhile, a candlelight protest was held in Sulkoote village in which men, women and children from various Kupwara villages participated. Amid pro-freedom slogans, the protestors were marching towards Drugmulla from Arampora, Kupwara with protestors holding axes in their hands. 

Evening protests took place at Warnow, Lolab and Wavoora areas.

Meanwhile, all medical shops remained closed in Kupwara district after they received unknown letters threatening them of dire consequences if they open their outlets. In Baramulla district, forces continued to block old bridge while reports of night protests poured in from Azadgunj and other areas. Candlelight protests were held in many villages of Sopore while main market and villages that include Arampora, Batpora, Tujjar witnessed peaceful protests, reports said.

Meanwhile, reports said people took out a protest march at Chichilora village that passed through various areas and reached Srinagar-Gulmarg road.  On way back, police fired many tear-gas shells to disperse the protestors, they said. Protests were witnessed at Kaloosa and Muslimabad areas of Bandipora district.  People offered Zuhr prayers on roads at Ajar, Naidkhai and Kaloosa villages.

CENTRAL KASHMIR

Protests erupted at Gagangeer, Thune Check Akhal and Shalbugh areas of Ganderbal district. Women and children also participated in the protests. Reports said protests erupted at Shalbugh against the detention of local Imam. They said mild stone pelting also took place at Saloora, Baroosa and Fetehpora.

At Thune, locals offered Zuhr prayers on road against the civilian killings. Reports said forces fired tear-gas shells at Kangan where police has detained six local youth. Evening clashes were going on in the area till last reports came in.

Reports from Budgam district said intense clashes were witnessed and peaceful protests were organized at old bus stand Charar-e-Sharief and Ompora areas.

People offered Zuhr prayers on roads at Charar-e-Sharif. Meanwhile, residents of Shunglipora and Nagam villages alleged forces broke windowpanes of many houses without any reason.

SHUTDOWN ELSEWHERE

After Bhaderwah, Kishtwar district observed a complete shutdown against the Kashmir civilian killings. The call for shutdown was given last night by Imam Jamia Masjid Kishtwar Farooq Ahmed Kichloo after the decision was taken by the Majlis-e-Shoora.

Reports said a complete strike was observed in Banihal against the civilian killings in Kashmir. Traffic was off the roads while all commercial establishments remained closed for the third consecutive day Thursday.

A peaceful protest march was also held while highway was also blocked for a few hours, reports said.

Doda and Thathri towns observed a shutdown on Thursday against the civilian killings in Kashmir. The shutdown call was given by Markazi Seerat Committee Doda and Masjid Committee Thathri.  Shops and business establishments of majority community remained closed at Doda and Thathri, but Government offices remained open and traffic plied normally.

At Doda a massive protest rally was held in which hundreds of people participated

The rally which started from Bharat Road Doda and culminated near DDC office after passing through all major markets.   Meanwhile, extra columns of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Doda and Thathri towns, but no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

(With inputs from Sheikh Nazir, Altaf Baba, Showkat Dar, and MA Dar)

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