Over half a dozen people received pellet injuries in Anantnag on Saturday even as curfew remained imposed in Handwara and some other parts of Kashmir. Kashmir observed complete shutdown while markets opened after 6 PM on the call of resistance leadership.
In last 78 days, 88 civilians have died in police, paramilitary and army firing across Kashmir while above 13,000 have been injured.
At least six people sustained pellet injuries as government forces used firearms to foil pro-freedom rally in Shangus area of Anantnag district. The forces also reportedly damaged a hotel in Verinag area of district Friday night.
A pro-freedom rally cum unity conference of various sects (Itihad-I-Milat) was proposed in Shangus which was foiled by forces resulting in clashes. "Forces lobbed tear shells and used pellet guns to quell the protesters who tried to march towards the venue – the local Jamia Masjid," eyewitnesses said. "People in retaliation pelted stones on the forces."
"The injured were treated at SDH Shangus and PHC Nowgam," a health official said.
Locals said a stringent curfew was put in place in the area and barricades and spools of concertina wires were placed at various places to stop people from marching towards Shangus.
Another, pro-freedom rally proposed in DH Pora, Noorabad in Kulagm district, was also foiled by forces by imposing curfew in the area.
Reports said on Friday night a private hotel was damaged by forces in tourist resort of Verinag.
"Police and paramilitary forces without any provocation raided at around 10 PM and vandalized it," alleged Muhamad Amin Sheikh, owner of Hotel Blue Spring.
Reports of protest demonstrations amid complete shutdown also poured in from some villages of Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian district too. The market, in all small and major towns, however opened during relaxation hours at 6 PM on the call of joint resistance leadership.
Police continues with its crackdown against youth by conducting nocturnal raids at their houses. The families of the youth are alleging that police is arresting even relatives of youth who are evading arrests.
Another leading Islamic scholar namely Maulana Bilal Qasmi from Zongalpora, Kulgam, who was arrested a fortnight ago has been booked under PSA and lodged in Kathua jail.
Reports reaching here from Baramulla said that amid pro-freedom slogans, the body of Waseem Ahmad Lone who was shot dead by security forces at Nadihal in Rafiabad on Friday evening was laid to rest at martyrs graveyard in Nadihal on Saturday morning.
According to reports, since morning thousands of people from Nadihal and its adjoining villages started visiting the area. The protesters who were thousands in number and swelling with time, were chanting pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
At around 10.30 AM, a huge funeral procession was taken out from the residence of slain youth and amid intense sloganeering the body was laid to rest at local martyrs graveyard, close to the grave of Danish Manzoor of Nadihal who too was killed by security forces last month.
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as the body was taken out from his residence for last rites. The mother and two sisters of the slain boy laid over the body and people were unable to separate them for a long time. The scene turned extremely emotional when younger brother Rameez Ahmad, who is abnormal, urged the people to let the body stay for a while.
Officials said that curfew was imposed in Handwara town of Kupwara district. "Curfew was imposed in view of apprehensions of law and order problems," an official said.
Reports reaching from Bandipora said that amid heavy deployment, entire district observed complete shutdown.
The Government foiled "Lar Chalo" program called by joint resistance leadership by imposing restrictions on the movement of people in the area.
Reports said police, paramilitary forces and Army were deployed at all the entry points of the main roads connecting Lar town with rest of Ganderbal district to thwart any protests in the area. However the day passed peacefully. Police detained three youth in Kangan identified as Bashir Ahmad Rather, Nawaz Ahmad Rather of Kangan and Abrar Ahmad Lone of Konmulla Kangan.
Shops, schools, offices and other business establishments remain closed in the entire Ganderbal district but considerable movement of private vehicles was witnessed on Sonamarag-Srinagar road. One more youth identified as Fayaz Ahmad Mir of Beehama was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) and was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar. The number of youth booked under PSA in the district has reached 15.
In Srinagar district, curfew remained imposed in jurisdiction of police stations Nowhatta, Khanyar and Mahraj Ganj. Officials said restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc remained in force in rest of Kashmir. "Curfew has been imposed in view of the apprehensions of law and order problems," officials said.
Reports from Budgam said that complete shutdown continues in the district.
VAID REVIEWS LAW & ORDER SITUATION:
Special Director General, Law & Order/Coordination, S P Vaid, has said that law enforcing agencies have to work together and maintain peace and order in the State, besides safety and security of people.
Chairing a meeting of Police and CRPF officers, Vaid stressed upon the officers to exercise restraint while dealing with situation and undertake joint efforts to have result oriented crowd management, besides dealing with the elements inimical to peace.
MARKETS OPEN AT 6 PM:
At 6 PM, markets opened across Kashmir in response to joint resistance leadership call for resuming business activities from 6 PM onwards. Traders opened shops and there was heavy rush of people in the markets. The traders were seen waiting in Lal Chowk and Residency Road outside their shops till 6 PM. As clock struck 6, they pulled up shutters as rush of private vehicles increased on the roads.
The markets re-opened in the evening after a gap 14 days.
(With Altaf Baba, Sheikh Nazir)