Police Open Fire On Protesters Near Doabgah
Srinagar, Feb 9: Defying the curfew hundreds of people took to streets at various place in Jammu and Kashmir state to protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru. The subsequent clashes between the security personnel and protestors left more than a 39 people including 23 policemen.
The people at several places in the valley offered Gaibana Nimaz-e-Jinazah (funeral prayers in absentia) for Afzal Guru. Authorities also jammed internet and mobile services across the Valley. Authorities clamped curfew in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley early this morning. In Srinagar, police erected barricades and laid spools of concertina wire blocking roads. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in heavy numbers and people were not allowed to move out of their houses.
Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) opened fire at protestors in Doabgah – native village of Guru in Sopore -and old town in Baramulla.
Residents said that soon after the news of Guru’s hanging broke, hundreds of people in apple town Sopore marched towards Doabgah in a procession. They were chanting pro-freedom slogans and denouncing hanging of Afzal.
They added the Police and CRPF personnel deployed in the area opened fire to prevent the protestors from entering the village. Four persons were wounded in police firing, one of them critically. He was identified as Firdous Ahmad Bhoroo son of Ghulam Ahmad Bhoroo. Firdous was admitted in SKIMS for treatment. Later police and forces personnel allegedly roughed up the protesters, forcing them to disperse. The persons injured in clashes in the area include Zahoor Ahmad Sumji (30) S/o Ali Muhmmad Sumji R/o Doabgah Sopore, Firdous Ahmad Buhroo (25) S/o Ghulam Ahmad Buhroo R/o Vijabal Doabgah Sopore, Irfan Ahmad Ganie (25) S/o Manzoor Ahmad Ganie R/o Doabgah Sopore, Mushtaq Ahmad (25) S/o Fazal-ud-Din R/o Doabgah Sopore, Azlan Ahmad (28) S/o Fayaz Ahmad R/o Doabgah Sopore.
Angry protesters also torched a guest house and an under-construction building of police in Rafiabad area of Sopore. Reports said hundreds of protesters from Chajuhama area torched an under-construction Dak Bungalow. The building suffered partial damage in the fire.
In Baramulla, protests erupted in old town and eight persons were injured in forces’ firing, one among them critically. The critically injured person was identified as Bilal Ahmad Gojri. He is undergoing treatment at SKIMS.
Clashes also took place at Cement Bridge and Khanpora bridge and the pitched battles continued till late Saturday evening. Those injured in clashes were identified as Bilal Ahmad Gojree (35) S/o Abdul Rehman Gojree R/o Azad Gunj Baramulla, Shakir Ahmad Zargar (25) S/o Ab Qayoom Zargar R/o Chandoosa at present Baramulla, Ajaz Ahmad Bagwan (25) S/o Muhammad Sadiq Bagwan R/o Drangbal Baramulla, Amir Ahmad Wani (22) S/o Fayaz Ahmad Wani R/o Old Town Baramulla, Nayeem Ahmad Sheikh (25) S/o Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh R/o Watergam Rafiabad, Muhammad Ashraf Dar (25) S/o Abdul Wahab Dar R/o Khanpora Baramulla.
Protests broke out in various townships and adjoining villages of Bandipora over the hanging of Afzal Guru, followed by clashes and stone-pelting on Saturday.
Early on Saturday Morning people took to roads and clashed with police and CRPF contingents deployed in various townships of Bandipora. Massive protests and stone-pelting was reported from Sumbal, Hajin and Main Bandipora township after protestors tried to defy curfew.
Hundreds of people on Saturday morning took to streets in Nowpora, main town Bandipora, Kaloosa and Watpora and clashed with the police and CRPF contingents.
According to reports, Army was deployed in Ongam, Kaloosa, Watpora, Hajin, Sumbal, Naidkhi and other main township to thwart the clashes.
Hundreds of people fought pitched battles near old Bridge Sumbal and engaged cops for the whole day, Shaid Nazir an eyewitness to Greater Kashmir.
Similar reports of clashes and protests were received from Naidkhi where protestors tried to torch police barracks and damaged certain bunkers. The reports of ransacking of CRPF bunker were also received from Papchan area of Bandipora were protests offered in absentia prayers.
In Hajin people engaged police, CRPF and Army in the main market leaving three injured. They were identified as Manzoor Ahmed, Raja and Muhammad Afzal, locals told Greater Kashmir. Police and CRPF, reportedly, picked up five youth from Hajin township of Bandipora, locals said.
Protests broke out in the area after announcements were made from the local Masjid. The protests continued till the last reports came. Similar protests were also reported from Aloosa, Ashtangoo, Arin, Gamoora, Saderkoot, Shadipora, Markundal, Nowgam and other adjoining villages in main township’s in the district.
Meanwhile a police officer told Greater Kashmir that barring few protests and mild stone pelting incidents situation was under control in the district. “We are appealing people to maintain peace in the area,” police officer said.
Despite the announcement of curfew in the townships of Kunzar, Tangmarg in Baramulla district, angry youth fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary forces and pelted stones on them in the area. The forces retaliated with tear smoke shells and the clashes continued for the full day. At least one pedestrian was injured when a stone hit his forehead. The protestors were raising pro-freedom slogans.
Meanwhile, the interior areas of Tangmarg experienced civil curfew like scenario following the hanging of Afzal Guru.
Protests were reported from parts of Handwara. Police burst tear smoke shells at a protest rally taken out by MLA Langate Er Rashid. They were dispersed forcefully and later Rashid was taken to police station Handwara.
In Kralgund area, police burst tear smoke shells and dispersed a huge procession protesting hanging of Guru.
North Kashmir’s Kupwara town remained under curfew. Mild protests were reported from some areas.
A strict curfew was enforced in all four districts of South Kashmir even as protests and sporadic clashes rocked several areas. Funeral prayers in absentia were offered in several areas of South Kashmir.
Reports said that in Islamabad town police and paramilitary forces wearing riot gears were deployed in strength in every lane and by-lane of the town to enforce strict curfew. The forces had erected barricades at several places leading to the town to restrict the movement of people. Curfew was also imposed in Bijbehara and other major towns of the district. Meanwhile, the traffic on National Highway came to halt for several hours after people in large numbers held protest demonstrations at Lower Munda against the execution of Afzal Guru. The protesters were shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Later, police and CRPF rushed to the spot and resorted to baton charge and lobbed tear gas canisters to quell the protests after which the traffic was restored. Funeral prayers in absentia were offered for Afzal Guru in Shangus, Kokernag, Pahalgam, Dooru, Verinag and several other areas of the district.
In Kulgam district sporadic clashes were reported early in the morning in several areas. However, later the deployment was strengthened and situation remained calm throughout the day. Funeral prayers in absentia were offered in several mosques of the district.
Furious over the execution of Afzal Guru, dozens of youth pelted stones on police vehicles at Lower Munda on Saturday evening leaving Superintendent of Police (SP) Kulgam injured.
Dozens of youth assembled at Lower Munda raising anti-police and anti-India slogans. The youth resorted to heavy stone pelting. Eye witnesses said that agitated youth tried to beat policemen and thrashed the windowpanes of police vehicles.
SP Kulgam Muhammad Shafi was hit by a stone and was immediately rushed to Qazigund Hospital where from he was discharged after getting five stitches in his head.
Later police arrested two brothers in this connection who have been identified as Zahoor Ahmed Shiekh and Mohammad Muneeb Sheikh. Locals said that they were dragged from their house by police party and were whisked away. They said that both the brothers are innocent.
In Pulwama district sporadic incidents of stone pelting were reported early in the morning in the main town and Prichoo village. Funeral prayers in absentia were also offered in Ruhumu, Koil and other adjacent villages. Curfew was also imposed in Tral, Awantipora and Pampore towns.
In Shopian district reports of protests and clashes between the protesters and forces were received from Aliyarpora, Chitragam and Zainapora villages. Four youth were detained following the protests. Funeral prayers in absentia of Guru were offered in several villages of the district.
In Srinagar, protests erupted at several places and people clashed with government forces and over dozen persons suffered minor injuries. The protests erupted in Maisuma, Nowgam, Soura, Sakidaffer, Qamarwari and many other areas.
In Maisuma the people tried to carry out procession, however heavy contingents of police and CRPF dispersed them.
Reports of protests were also received from Budgam and Ganderbal districts of Central Kashmir, however no one was injured.
Amid curfew youth to took to streets at Saloora in Ganderbal, at Barsoo in Lar at Wussan, Gund and Rayil in Kangan. Police swung in to action and chased them away peacefully.
At Kangan market protesting youth tried to enter the curfew bound area of town however police chased them away by bursting tear smoke shells triggering ding-dong battles.
Youth blocked Srinagar-Leh highway at Wussan and Baroosa however police swung into action and removed the barricades. Authorities put heavy contingent of forces at highway town Kangan and Ganderbal markets and other small townships of the district. Nagbal, Tullamulla, Safapora, Lar, Manigam and Gund wore a deserted look.
Iftikhar Ahmad DSP Kangan told Greater Kashmir that police showed maximum restrain to deal with protesters and the situation is completely under control.
Police Saturday said that barring stray incidents of stone pelting at various places, the situation across the valley remained under control and by and large peaceful. 36 persons including 23 policemen were injured in these incidents.
A statement issued by Police said that the cops exercised maximum restrain while dispersing the protesters. 23 policemen including some officers, a SP, a DSP and an ASI were injured in the stone-pelting incidents.
It said while tackling the stone pelters, 13 persons received injuries. Among the injured three were shifted to the hospital for treatment while 10 others received minor injuries. Bilal Ahmad Gojri son of Abdul Rahman Gojri resident of Azad Gunj, Baramulla who was injured in his left thigh in Old Town, Baramulla was shifted to SKIMS where his condition is reported to be stable. Another person Firdous Ahamd Bohroo received injuries in his left arm in Sopore. He was shifted to SKIMS, Srinagar where his condition is also reported to be stable. Riyaz Ahamd Sofi son of Bashir Ahmad resident of Wanihama, Zakoora was injured in his right leg and is being treated in the hospital. His condition is also reported to be stable.
CHENAB VALLEY PROTESTS HANGING
Meanwhile, protests broke out in various parts of Chenab Valley region in Jammu division immediately after the reports of hanging of Afzal Guru were aired by TV channels.
Hundreds of people took to streets and blocked vehicular movement on Jammu-Srinagar highway for nearly two hours at tehsil headquarters of Banihal in Ramban district.
As the news spread, the shopkeepers and other commercial establishments closed their business and joined the protests.
The protesters raised anti-government and pro-freedom slogans and blocked the vehicular movement on highway.
However, the protest remained peaceful amid heavy deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF in all the sensitive places of the district.
The situation also remained tense in other parts of the region including Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah where people held similar protest demonstrations.
At Kishtwar people took to streets after announcements were made from the local Jamia Masjid. People assembled in large numbers and took out a protest march condemning hanging of Guru. The protesters marched through various localities and market places of the township raising anti-government and pro-Guru slogans.
“It was a cowardice act. We condemn it in strongest words”, a speaker said, while addressing the protesters outside the Jamia Masjid. He said that the “sacrifice of Afzal Guru” will not go waste and rightful struggle will continue.
A high level security review meeting was convened by Additional District Magistrate Kishtwar early in the morning and special security deployment was made at all the sensitive places.
The administration also directed the army to remain ready to assist the law enforcing agencies in case of any emergent situation. Normal life was affected in Doda where complete shutdown was observed. People in large numbers took out a procession in the township and expressed resentment over Guru’s hanging.
Youth in large numbers started gathering in small numbers in the morning and soon the numbers swallowed. They later staged a protest demonstration denouncing the hanging of Guru.
“It was unfortunate that Guru was denied justice”, Atta Muhammad, a protester said.
“Maqbool Bhat was hanged in the same manner on February 11, 1984 in Tihar Jail. It is the second big blow for the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, said a speaker while addressing the protesters.
There were reports of similar protest demonstrations from Bhaderwah township.
JAMMU ON HIGH ALERT
High alert was sounded in Jammu region Saturday after Guru hanging news broke out.
“We have sounded high alert in the entire region and there is undeclared curfew in communally sensitive areas,” a senior police officer said. Amongst the sensitive areas are Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda, Banihal, Poonch and Rajouri.
The administration has made heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces at vulnerable and sensitive areas while the army has been asked to be on stand by.
“There is no report of any untoward incident from any part of Jammu region so far,” the official said.
WITH INPUTS FROM GHULAM MUHAMMAD, ALTAF BABA, KHALID GUL, SUHAIL AJMAL, M M PARVAIZ, ARIF MUNSHI AND ABID PAMPORI