Cops Among 40 Injured; Police Ransack KU Quarters; CRPF Enter Houses In Several Areas; 3 Youth Receive Pellet Injuries In Eyes
Srinagar, Mar 7: At least 40 persons including six cops were injured in clashes that erupted at numerous places across the valley on Thursday. Curfew remained clamped in several areas as the valley witnessed another spontaneous shutdown against the killing of a Baramulla youth.
Though no separatist group had called for shutdown on Thursday, the people across the valley observed strike in protest against the killing and alleged excesses by forces. Shops, banks and other business establishments across the valley were closed and traffic was largely off the roads.
In Srinagar, curfew remained in the jurisdictions of police stations Rainawari, Maharajgunj, Safakadal, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Zadibal, Kralkhud and Maisuma. Clashes erupted in Batamaloo, Tengpora and Zakoora areas of Srinagar. The forces foiled the attempts of protests at four places in old Srinagar.
Reported said that groups of youth, raising pro-freedom slogans took to streets in Batamaloo and Tengpora areas. They were intercepted by large contingents of police and CRPF. Reports said that forces burst tear smoke shells and cane-charged the protestors. The latter in turn pelted stones on the forces triggering clashes in which at least six persons were injured.
Reports said that later additional reinforcement arrived in the area to contain the situation. The pitched battles continued for at least two hours.
In Zakoora area of Srinagar, reports said that hundreds of youth took to streets and held strong protests demonstration against the killing of Baramulla youth. However they were intercepted by forces leading to violent clashes. Pitched battles continued till evening. Clashes were also reported from Habbak Crossing.
Reports of minor clashes were also received from Sadrabal, Hazratbal. Reports said that agitated youth outside the University gate pelted stones on police and CRPF personnel. Eyewitnesses said that after a policeman was hit by a stone, CRPF personnel went berserk and forced their entry into Mirzabagh campus of Kashmir University comprised of residential quarters reserved for the employees of University.
“CRPF personnel smashed the doors and windows of residential quarters and arrested a scholar and son of a University employee,” an employee of University said adding that they even didn’t spare the children. “CRPF personnel entered the premises despite the fact that University has its own force,” a University official said.
The scholar, Basharat Ahmed (PhD Environmental Science) and the other youth were lodged in Police Station Nigeen. Later top University officials reached the police station to sort out the matter.
Kashmir University Teachers Association President, Ghulam Mohiuddin Sanghmi condemned the police action in the university official quarters. “It is highly condemnable. Police should stop harassment of scholars and families of university officials. We also condemn the barbaric killing of youth of Baramulla,” he said.
Reports said that in the curfew bound areas, the youth tried to take out processions in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rajouri Kadal and Babademb, however the forces foiled the attempts.
“We did not allow them to come out on roads,” a middle-rung police official posted in old Srinagar told Greater Kashmir.
To stop people from coming out, the forces in curfew-bound areas of Srinagar sealed lanes and by lanes. “After yesterday’s incidents, today we did not want to give them any more chance. We imposed the curfew strictly,” the police official said.
Several residents from old Srinagar called Greater Kashmir and alleged that unlike Wednesday, they were not allowed to buy bread Thursday morning.
The residents said that forces blocked the roads with razor wire and armored vehicles.
Late Thursday evening, CRPF personnel allegedly entered in residential houses in Ziarat Sharief, SD Colony and some other areas of Batamaloo. Residents said that para-military men broke the window panes of the residential houses. They also beat up the inmates. The residents said that CRPF personnel also used pepper gas without any provocation in these areas.
Violent protest demonstration also broke out at Ranger Stop Khanyar Thursday evening. Protests were going on when this report was being filed.
CRPF men attacked a vehicle (Scorpio JK18/3303) near Zakura and caused heavy damage to it, said owner of the vehicle Muhammad Maqbool Lone.
Lone said he along with his family including two daughters and wife were traveling from Ahmed Nagar to Peer Bagh when a group of CRPF personnel, armed with guns and batons attacked their vehicle near Zakura Crossing.
“Everything was normal. But they suddenly attacked our vehicle and broke rare window. They also hurled abuses on us,” said Lone’s daughter. She said the locals came to their rescue and saved them.
In central district of Budgam, reports of protests and clashes were received from three places. The protests and clashes took place in Budgam town, Khan Sahib and Chadoora. However no one was injured.
Clashes erupted in Hyderpora area soon after Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani arrived from New Delhi.
Reports said that groups of youth assembled outside Geelani’s residence and held strong protests demonstrations. Chanting pro-freedom slogans, the youth were also denouncing the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru and killing of a youth in Baramulla by Army. Forces burst tear smoke shells and dispersed the protesters.
SSP Budgam Uttam Chand said, “Some people had assembled there. We dispersed them.”
Residents of old Barzulla said that CRPF personnel Thursday evening damaged the windowpanes of the residential houses and beat up the inmates. They said that the personnel also damaged vehicles.
Reports from Ganderbal district said that youth staged protests at Check Duderhama and Wussan in Kangan, however police swung into action and chased them away.
Two civilians including a lady received injuries when they were traveling in private vehicles and protesting youth pelted stones on their vehicles at Wussan and Chinar in Kangan. Glass panes of some vehicle were also damaged in stone pelting incidents.
Officials at sub -district hospital Kangan and PHC Wussan said that two injured persons Abdul Hamid of Margund Kangan and Hasina Begum of Kangan were discharged from the hospital after giving them treatment. They have received injuries in head and arm respectively.
Youth erected barricades on the Srinagar- Leh highway at some places in Ganderbal and Kangan areas, however police rushed to the spot and removed them.
Amid complete shutdown, thin presence of officials was reported in most of Government and private offices in the entire district. Some private vehicles were seen plying on Ganderbal roads.
Forces remained deployed in market places at Safapora, Dhobipora, Manigam, Lar, Pandach, Nagbal, Tullamulla, Baroosa, Beehama Chowk, Tawheed Chowk, Main Bazar Kangan, Court Road Kangan, Jamia Market Kangan and village market Kangan. However the situation remained peaceful at these places.
Entire north Kashmir witnessed a complete shutdown while as Sopore town was under curfew for second consecutive day and clashes erupted at some places.
Amid a complete shutdown in frontier district of Kupwara, people took to streets and clashed with forces in Lolab area for several hours Thursday.
Violent clashes broke out at Cheerkote and Khumriyal villages in Lolab when forces tried to disperse the protesters who were raising pro-freedom slogans and staged a sit at Kupwara – Sogam road.
Forces resorted to tear gas shelling, protesters hurled stones in retaliation. During the clashes six protesters and five force personnel (including CRPF and police men) were injured.
One of the injured has been identified as Muhammad Akhtar Malik son Sanaullah Malik of Cheerkote Lolab who was reportedly hit by a CRPF vehicle. Locals said that Akhtar has multiple fractures.
Locals alleged that they were protesting peacefully and had blocked the Kupwara -Lolab road when CRPF vehicle tried to run them over. “Our timely resistance prevented much casualties and Akhtar was seriously injured by the vehicle,” protesters said. Four other injured were admitted in sub- district hospital Kupwara while as Muhammad Akhtar Malik was shifted to Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla for specialized treatment.
“He has fractured two bones in his right leg due to the impact. Though he is stable but we are closely monitoring his condition,” a doctor in the B&J Hospital told Greater Kashmir.
Reports said that forces intercepted protest demonstrations in Khumriyal and burst tear smoke shells to disperse them. During the clashes, the protesters retaliated by heavy stone pelting for several hours.
Protesters damaged a police bunker near Khumriyal Bridge. In return, forces entered into several homes, arrested four youth and damaged windows, glass panes and other furniture there,” alleged the locals.
Overnight protests were reported from main Kupwara town, Rigipora, Darzipora, Dudwan and Trehgam areas.
Superintendent of Police, Kupwara, Muhammad Irshad said groups of youth took to streets in Lolab. “In stone pelting, some civil vehicles were damaged. Later we dispersed them,” he said.
Despite strict curfew on second consecutive day today, protests erupted in Baramulla town against the killing of a youth.
Three persons were injured one among them critically during clashes in Palhallan village in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Thursday.
Reports said that protesters defied curfew and assembled on bridge of the main town. Police and paramilitary men deployed in strength on all bridges used teargas, pellet firing and pepper gas to disperse the stone-pelting youth.
According to eye witnesses, the ding- dong battles between the youth and government forces were seen at Khanpora Bridge, two main cement bridges and at Sheikh-ul-Aalam Foot Bridge near Gulnar Park. The clashes were going on till late afternoon, however no one was hurt.
In Palhallan village, eyewitnesses said three persons were injured, one critically injured youth Aaqib Ahmad Bhat son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat, 15, who sustained pellet injury in eye was rushed to SMHS Hospital for treatment.
Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat of Tantray Mohalla Palhallan and Irfan Ahmad Bhat of Baghat Mohalla Palhallan also reportedly suffered pellet injuries in their eyes and were shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
In Watargam town of Rafiabad, peaceful protests were held however no deployment of security forces was seen.
Reports said a large procession was taken out in afternoon from Azad Gunj to slain Tahir Sofi’s home in Baramulla.
Eyewitness said more than five thousand people assembled at Azad Gunj Market, where from amid pro freedom slogans a peaceful procession led by Imam Abdul Rehman Shala, Muhammad Qasim, Mufti Aijaz Ahmad, father-in-law of Muhammad Afzal Guru- Ghulam Muhammad Guru and civil society members, and marched towards Tahir Sofi’s home to express sympathy with the bereaved family and offered Fateh Khawani.
Later the procession marched towards the Astan Aalia Khwaja Sahib, where the Imam and other elderly leaders addressed a large gathering.
At many places in the town youth staged protest demonstrations against the killing of Tahir Sofi. The youth raised pro freedom slogans and engaged police and para- military forces in stone pelting.
One person was severely injured during clashes that erupted in the evening near Khanpora Bridge in Baramulla town.
The injured youth has been identified as Tawseef Ahmad of old town Baramulla. The injured youth has suffered pellet injury in his eyes and was immediately referred to Srinagar hospital for treatment.
The residents of Baramulla town alleged that police was deliberately targeting youth with pellets in vital parts of the body. “The injuries caused by pellets are more dangerous than bullets as their treatment is very difficult,” they alleged.
A medico at the district hospital Baramulla said most of the youth injured due to pellet firing in the town since last month have received injuries mostly in head and eyes.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in large numbers in old town Baramulla, Pattan, Sangrama, Palhalan, Singhpora, Magam and Tangmarg town to maintain law and order.
Reports of complete shutdown were received from Handwara Tehsil of Kupwara district and the people took to streets in Langate area.
Bandipora district of north Kashmir also witnessed a complete shutdown and the authorities imposed restrictions to contain the movement of people.
Three BSF personnel were injured when the vehicle in which they were traveling overturned after it was chased and stoned by protesters.
Reports said that violent clashes broke out at Rigpora Kupwara this evening when protesters chased a BSF vehicle. BSF resorted to aerial firing after which protesters dispersed.
Amid complete shutdown and restrictions, protests against the killing of Baramulla youth continued for the third running day in several areas of South Kashmir. Meanwhile, the residents of Kulgam town accused police of letting loose a reign of terror in the area.
Reports said that though curfew was officially lifted from Kulgam today, however strict restrictions were imposed in several areas. “Police and paramilitary forces wearing riot gears and armed with sticks were deployed in strength to foil any attempts of protests. However, in Astan Mohalla and Labripora area of the town strict restrictions were imposed and the movement of people was curtailed,” eyewitnesses said. They said that the authorities did not allow the people in these two areas to venture out of their houses and whosoever attempted to do so was beaten to pulp.
“My father is admitted in the hospital and as there was officially no curfew in place I went out to purchase medicines for him but was ruthlessly beaten up by police,” said Nisar Ahmad Mir, a photographer by profession. He said that he has suffered fracture in his arm.
People accused the police and CRPF of letting loose reign of terror for last few days.
“The police and CRPF men pelt stones on the houses and break the window panes and then arrest the youth on the charges of stone pelting and in turn demand ransom to release them,” said the residents of Astan Mohalla. Several youth have been reportedly booked by the police.
They alleged that the government forces also have ransacked houses and break up the window panes, vehicles parked in the compounds of houses and beat up the inmates without any provocation.
“The forces also smashed the window panes of a mosque near Qazigund bus terminal,” they said.
Following the complaints of excesses by the police, the district administration on Thursday convened a meeting of senior citizens of the area. Deputy Commissioner Kulgam Jehangir Mir assured the people of looking into their complaints, however he appealed the people to maintain peace in the area.
Meanwhile, clashes between the forces and protesters erupted in Kaimoh and Khudwani areas of the district. Youth pelted stones on police and CRPF who lobbed numerous tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. The forces then reportedly barged into several houses, ransacked household goods and smashed the window panes of houses. “The forces also beat up the pedestrians,” residents alleged.
In Shopian district, complete shutdown was observed. Shops and offices were closed and the traffic was off the roads. People had erected barricades at Shopian-Zainapora and Shopian-Kulgam roads at Bonibazar and no vehicle was allowed to ply on the road. Clashes between youth and forces erupted at Bonibazar, Kanipora, Gagran and Shirmal areas of the district.
Curfew was lifted from Pulwama and Kakpora town today, however strict restrictions remained in force with heavy deployment of forces. Shutdown was also observed in Rajpora, Awantipora, Pampore, Samboora and Tral areas of the district. Sporadic clashes were witnessed in certain areas of the district.
In Anantnag (Islamabad) and Bijbehara towns Police and CRPF men were deployed in large numbers to foil any attempts of protests. However, late in the evening clashes erupted in several areas of old town, Lal Chowk, Laizbal and Gulshanabad. The forces lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters.
“Police and CRPF men reportedly barged into several houses in Laizbal and Gulshanabad late in the evening and ransacked the household goods and smashed the window panes,” the locals alleged. They also beat up inmates.
Police have reportedly detained half a dozen youth in the town. “Following violent clashes in Bijbehara town on Wednesday late evening forces were deployed in strength in all the interior lanes and by lanes of the town,” eyewitnesses said. They said that a lady identified as Misbah Raiq of Baramulla who was traveling in a cab from Jammu towards Srinagar late Wednesday evening was hit by a stray stone and got injured. Police personnel and two CRPF men also sustained injuries in the clashes.
Violent clashes also erupted in Batpora area of Sangam. Youth clashed with police and CRPF men who retaliated by resorting to baton charge and lobbing tear gas canisters.
Protests erupted in Khanabal and Naibasti areas of Anantnag (Islamabad) Thursday evening. Reports said hundreds of people took to streets and held protests against the killing of Baramulla youth. Forces burst tear smoke shells to disperse them.
Residents alleged that forces ransacked the houses and broke the window panes of residential houses.
SEPARATIST LEADER ARRESTED:
Sources said police arrested senior Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Ghulam Nabi Zaki from his Sopore residence during a nocturnal raid last night. Reports said that a joint column of police and CRPF cordoned off Zaki’s house in midnight and whisked him away.
Police last night also raided the house of Senior Vice Chairman JKLF Bashir Ahmad Bhat.
Situation across the valley remained largely peaceful, a police spokesman said here. He said some stone pelting incidents were reported in Srinagar and other parts of the valley.
The spokesman said: “Miscreants pelted stones in Batamaloo and Zakoora in Srinagar, Khanpora, Cement Bridge and Palhalan in Baramulla, Narbal crossing in Budgam, Papchan in Bandipora, and Cherkoot Lolab in Kupwara. Police exercised maximum restraint chased them away. No injury was reported from any place.
Curfew remained imposed in Police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, M.R Ghanj, Rainawari, Safakadal, Zadibal, Kralkhud and Maisuma in Srinagar, and in Police district Sopore, he said.