Locals Complain Of Shortage Of Essentials
Pulwama, Dec 30: An indefinite curfew continued Sunday for the third running day, amid sporadic clashes, in this South Kashmir district where security forces had on Friday allegedly resorted to indiscriminate firing on civilians at two separate places injuring nine persons.
A senior official of Pulwama district administration said restrictions were still in place as the sporadic incidents of stone-pelting have continued in the town since Friday.
He said restrictions are likely to continue tomorrow as well in view of the strike call given by separatist groups.
Reports said police and paramilitary CRPF personnel, armed with sophisticated weapons and in riot gear, were deployed in strength in Pulwama town and its adjoining areas to enforce curfew for the third consecutive day. Forces guarded the deserted streets, lanes and by-lanes to foil any attempt of the people to come out and stage demonstrations.
All the entry and exit points connecting the town with other districts were sealed by erecting barricades and spools of concertina wires. At some places, armored vehicles were placed across the road to restrict movement of people.
Eyewitnesses said late in the evening when the deployment was being reduced, protesters clashed with forces at several places in the town as well as in the peripheral areas.
“As the forces started moving to their camps, the protesters booed and pelted stones on them, which was retaliated by teargas shelling,” they said.
The residents alleged that even patients are not being allowed to be taken to hospitals and the households are running short of essential supplies.
“This is the third day of the curfew and our households are running short of essentials and baby foods. The forces are not letting us venture out of our houses even to fetch milk and medicines,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Pulwama town.
A group of students told Greater Kashmir that they missed their examinations on Saturday, the second day of curfew. “Despite district administration announcing that the roll number slips will be treated as curfew passes, the forces don’t allow us to move towards the examination centres,” a group of students of BA/BSc Final Year said.
“The forces didn’t entertain the roll no slips as curfew passes. We have more papers in the coming days and are worried about what might happen,” said the students.
With both the Hurriyat factions calling for shutdown on Monday against the firing incident at Pulwama, the authorities are likely to continue with the restrictions tomorrow.
“The decision of lifting restrictions will be taken after assessing the situation”, a senior official told Greater Kashmir.
He said that if people remain peaceful and don’t resort to violence there is no need to enforce restrictions.
The government had imposed indefinite curfew in Pulwama on Friday after nine civilians were injured in forces firing at two different places. Seven people were wounded when security forces opened fire on hundreds of people who tried to march towards the encounter site at Chandgam where two local militants of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit were killed in a gunfight with troops.
Later, two more persons were injured when the Army opened fired at a group of people at Rajpora Chowk in Pulwama town when they were removing the injured to hospital. One of the injured who was hit by a bullet at Chandgam was hit by another bullet in the firing incident at Rajpora Chowk.
Police, on its part, initially blamed the army for the firing on civilians.
The firing triggered more protests in the district as people clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel injuring six more persons in stone-pelting, baton charge and tear gas shelling.
Angry protesters also attacked the vehicle of Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Shopian, Parvaiz Sajad causing injuries to him. His personal security officer (PSO) and driver Gulzar Ahmad also suffered injuries, while the vehicle suffered heavy damage, eyewitness said. Police and paramilitary forces had to fire tear gas canisters and fire warning shots in the air to quell the agitated protesters who called the forces’ firing as unprovoked and unjustified.
As the protests intensified, the district administration announced magisterial probe into the forces’ firing on civilians at Pulwama town and placed the town and its adjoining villages under indefinite curfew.
Meanwhile, the condition of the critically injured persons has been stated to be stable by the doctors attending them. “Aaqib who was hit by a bullet in his head and sustained brain injury underwent surgery at SKIMS and is out of danger,” said a doctor.
Similarly, the condition of other injured persons Jehangir Mir and his brother Showkat Mir, according to the doctors attending them at Bone and Joints and SMHS hospitals is said to be stable. Their two cousins are also recuperating at Bone and Joints hospital.
A police spokesman today refused to comment on the incident saying they would wait for the outcome of the magisterial inquiry ordered into the incident.
Meanwhile, additional District Magistrate Pulwama, who has been nominated as enquiry officer to probe into the firing incident, will record statement of witnesses till January 5.
“Any person(s) having any knowledge or information about the said incident can record their statements or file their affidavits before the Enquiry Officer by or before January 05 in his office chamber during working hours,” an official spokesman said.
2 Youth Arrested 8 More Wanted: DC
Srinagar, Dec 30: With the reports of alleged harassment pouring in from Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police Sunday arrested two youth in the town as authorities claimed they were involved in stone throwing and disruption of peace.
Residents said a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF Sunday afternoon barged in tow residential houses at Washbug on the outskirts of Pulwama town and arrested two youth identified as Faizan Ahmad Ganaie and Owais Ahmad Dar. They said both the youth were watching Indo-Pak cricket match when they were arrested by the forces.
The arrest, sources said evoked strong protest demonstrations in the area. The residents of the area came out of their houses and staged strong protest demonstrations against arrests. They demanded immediate release of youth.
The residents alleged that police is harassing the people in most of the areas of Pulwama district without any provocation.
Police sources said the groups of youth at various places in district tried to take out processions Sunday morning however they were not allowed to do so.
Confirming the arrest of two youth, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Pulwama Shafat Noor told Greater Kashmir that the duo was detained on charges of stone-pelting. “They have been arrested for stone pelting,” he said and added that dozens of youth Sunday morning pelted stones on police and CRPF in Washbug area.
The DC said that eight more youth from Washbug area are wanted for pelting stones and disruption of peace.