CLASHES, PROTESTS IN NORTH, SOUTH KASHMIR
Srinagar, Feb 14: With almost all the major towns of the Valley remaining under curfew for sixth running day Thursday in the aftermath of hanging Afzal Guru, clashes broke out between protestors and force personnel at several places across the Valley.
In Bandipora district, clashes broke out at four places Thursday. People defied the curfew and took to streets. They held strong protest demonstrations and were demanding the body of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi last Saturday. In Papchan area of Bandipora, police and paramilitary CRPF men Thursday afternoon intercepted a protest rally. The forces burst tear smoke shells and opened fire in air. Later the protestors attacked a CRPF camp and the clashes were going on till late in the evening. Clashes also broke at Astengoo and Nadihal areas after forces tried to disrupt a huge rally.
Police burst tear smoke shells and opened fire in air to disperse protestors. In the evening, massive protests broke out in main Bandipora town and heavy clashes were going on when this report was being filed. Residents of Hajin and its adjoining areas in Bandipora alleged that police and paramilitary forces unleashed terror in the areas. They alleged that forces barged into the houses and broke into the shops.
Locals alleged that force personnel broke windowpanes of houses, damaged the property in the shops and beat many families in the area.
Reports said that Sumbal area is on boil following the death of two youth and injuries to many others during protests against Afzal’s hanging. Police, locals said, have arrested over a dozen civilians in the past five days.
Protests also erupted in Baramulla town and Rohama areas this evening. Reports said that youth took to streets and clashed with forces at Khanpora bridge. However, forces dispersed them.
In Rohama area hundreds of people took to streets in the area on Thursday evening. However, police and CRPF burst tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors. The clashes were on when this report was filed. All the exit and entrance points in Baramulla town remained sealed for the sixth consecutive day today.
In Doabgah area of Sopore-native village of Muhammad Afzal Guru- hundreds of people of the village and its adjoining areas held strong protest demonstration in the afternoon. They were demanding body of Afzal Guru. The protests demonstration continued for hours together and later they dispersed peacefully.
In Kupwara, the protests erupted in main town and Hayeehama road and police later dispersed them. Clashes also erupted in Handwara and Kralgund area of north Kashmir. MLA Langate Er Rashid also remained in police custody for sixth consecutive day today.
Though most parts in Srinagar remained peaceful during the day, but defying the strict curfew clashes erupted in several parts of old city in the evening. The clashes erupted in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rajouri Kadal, Babademb, Saraf Kadal and several other places.
Reports said that the groups of youth in these areas took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations against the hanging of Afzal Guru. Reports added that heavy contingents of police and CRPF tried to disperse them. However, the protestors pelted stones and rocks on the forces triggering clashes and they were going when this report was being filed.
In Budgam district the youth tried to take out protest in Budgam town, however forces foiled the attempt.
In Ganderbal district minor incidents of stone pelting by the protesting youth were reported from Wussan, Barwulla and Kangan town.
Protesting youth blocked Srinagar- Leh highway at Wussan in Kangan by erecting barricades. Police rushed to the spot and removed the barricades and chased the protesting youth.
Samiullah Naqashbandhi a senior official of District Administration told Greater Kashmir that Kangan area remained peaceful today and police used maximum restrain while dealing with situation.
Dr Asgar Samoon Divisional commissioner Kashmir visited Mini Secretariat in Ganderbal and took stock of the situation. He directed opening of ration stores and providing essential commodities in the district.
No untoward incident was reported from rest of the district. Curfew was lifted from most parts of the district including Safapora, Maniga, Lar, Pandach, Nagbal, Tullamulla, Gund and Ganderbal townships. However restriction remained in force on highway town of Kangan amid heavy deployment of forces on the different streets of the town connecting it with the Kangan market.
Islamabad (Anantnag) town remained under strict curfew for sixth running day Thursday. Violent clashes erupted in old town in the evening after the groups of youth took to streets and held protest demonstrations. Police and CRPF burst tear smoke shells and opened fire in air to disperse the protestors. Clashes were going on when this report was being filed.
The forces allegedly ransacked several residential houses in the town in the evening. The clashes also broke out in Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam towns Thursday evening.
The people offered funeral prayers in absentia for Muhammad Afzal Guru in Nehama and some other areas of Pulwama
A police spokesman Thursday evening termed the situation peaceful barring a few incidents of stone pelting. “Situation across the Valley remained peaceful, so far. A couple of incidents of stone pelting were reported from few places, however, no one was hurt,” the spokesman said.
He said that curfew was relaxed in all areas of Budgam, Kupwara and Awantipora district from this morning. In Pulwama and Islamabad (Anantnag) curfew was relaxed in all places of the districts except main towns.
In Srinagar, a spokesman said that the curfew was relaxed in areas of police stations, R.M Bagh, Kothibagh, Sadder, Rajbagh, Lalbazar, Shaheed Gung, Nigeen, Zakoora, Panthachowk, Parimpora, Bemina and Nowgam from this morning.
In Ganderbal curfew was relaxed from all areas except Kangan, since this morning onwards. In Kulgam curfew was relaxed from all places except main Kulgam town and Yaripora from morning onwards, the spokesman said adding that later in the day curfew was relaxed in areas of Kulgam and Yaripora from 4:30 onward.
He said that in Baramulla curfew was relaxed in whole Baramulla district except Baramulla town and Pattan. Later in the afternoon, partial relaxation in curfew was given in Baramulla town from 5 pm onwards and in Sopore town from 4 pm onwards.
In Bandipora curfew was relaxed from all areas from 11 am onwards. In Handwara curfew was relaxed from all places except Langate and Kralgund from 12 am onwards.