Geelani Arrested; Mirwaiz, Malik Under House Arrest
At least nine persons were injured in clashes that erupted after Friday prayers in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district even as senior separatist leaders continued to remain under house arrest or in police lock-ups.
Reports said clashes erupted between police and protesting youths in Baramulla town on Friday. Police fired pellets, leaving nine youth injured. Among them one was shifted to SKIMS Srinagar. Reports said the youth identified as Zubair Ahmad Peer of Khawja Sahib old town Baramulla was immediately rushed to SKIMS after he received multiple pellet injuries. They said soon after Friday prayers groups of youth suddenly appeared at Tehsil road Baramulla and started pelting stones at the police station.
Police, according to reports, pushed the stone pelting youths towards the cement bridge. Here, police fired pellets, resulting in injuries to nine youth. However, Baramulla hospital authorities claimed they received only seven injured. “We received seven injured persons and one of the injured who had suffered multiple pellet injuries on his neck and head was referred to Srinagar because the district hospital lacks CT Scan facility,” said medical superintendent of Baramulla hospital, Bashir Ahmad Chalkoo.
A protest demonstration was held in South Kashmir town of Islamabad against the crackdown launched by police on pro-freedom leaders and imposition of curbs on people. The demonstration was led by Jammu Kashmir Umat-I-Islamia Chairman and Mirwaiz South Kashmir, Qazi Yasir.
As soon as Friday prayers concluded at Jamia Masjid Hanfia, people assembled in the compound and tried to take out a pro-freedom demonstration. However a large posse of police and paramilitary forces deployed outside prevented them from proceeding.
However, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans the people later protested in the Jamia Masjid compound.
Addressing protesters, Qazi Yasir accused New Delhi of being “selective towards religious issues of Kashmiris.”
“Under a well-planned strategy Kashmiris are not allowed to practice their religion freely,” he alleged. “The curbs are imposed on prayers and people are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids.”
Yasir condemned the arrest of pro-freedom leaders including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Ayaz Akbar. He demanded release of all political prisoners including Showkat Ahmed Bakshi, Masarat Alam, Ghulam Qadir Bhat, Engineer Farooq, Muhammed Shafi Shariyati, Misbah ul Islam and Muhammed Ayoub Dar.
Meanwhile, in Shopian town, a pro-freedom demonstration was held after Friday prayers. Earlier, a resolution was also passed in Masjids seeking return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. A resolution was also passed in various Masjids of Kulgam and Pulwama districts. Sporadic incidents of stone pelting were reportedly witnessed in Shopian.
In central Kashmir, only one incident of stone pelting was reported from Saraf Kadal area of Srinagar.
Reports said soon after the Friday prayers, a group of youth took to streets and raised pro-freedom slogans. However they were intercepted by forces. They burst tear smoke shells and dispersed them.
Forces remained deployed outside Jamia Masjids and main market places in Ganderbal and Kangan towns to thwart any possible protests after Friday prayers.
At two major Jamia Masjids in Kangan town, people held “Qanoot Nazla” (special prayers) and prayed for Muhammad Afzal Guru and demanded return of his mortal remains.
No report of any untoward incident or protest was reported from any part of the district and the situation remained completely peaceful.
Meanwhile Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested soon after he left his Hyderpora residence to attend Friday congregation.
Chairman Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continued to remain under house arrest and was barred from offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid. JKLF Chairman also continues to remain under house arrest.
Police meanwhile said situation remained normal across the valley, barring few incidents of stone pelting in Naidkhai in Bandipora, Safakadal in Srinagar and Baramulla Town. “During the clashes, police showed maximum restraint however, in Baramulla town some miscreants were injured, who were discharged after giving first aid in District Hospital Baramulla. In the clashes four police personnel also received injuries,” he claimed.