31 injured by pellets in capital, clashes in numerous areas, elderly man dies after losing control of scooter amid teargas shelling at Eidgah
Srinagar: Srinagar erupted in protest on Tuesday soon after curfew was lifted, 17 days after it was enforced. In the ensuing clashes with police and paramilitary forces, dozens of protesters were injured, 31 of them were admitted to SMHS hospital. Across the Valley, more than 70 people were injured, mostly by pellets, in fierce clashes that show that the anti-India uprising is nowhere on the wane.
Amid a complete shutdown in the city that continued despite the joint pro-freedom leadership’s call to open shops after 2pm, people in several areas of Srinagar came out on the streets to fight pitched battles with government forces.
At Nowhatta chowk, people assembled in large numbers and marched through many old city areas, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The protesters held Pakistan, ISIS and Jaish-e-Mohammad flags and marched towards Lal Chowk in hundreds. The march was intercepted by a large contingent of police and paramilitary forces near Hari Singh High Street and was attacked with heavy shelling and pellet fires.
Reports said that more than four-dozen youth sustained injuries in several Srinagar areas on Tuesday, as they hurled stones at government troops and received pellets and teargas shells in return.
Medical Superintendent of SMHS Nazir Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that 31 persons injured mostly by pellets were admitted to the hospital over the course of the day.
“31 injured were admitted to the hospital today (Tuesday) and all of them are from Srinagar areas. The injuries are mostly by pellets and no one is critical (among the injured),” Choudhary said.
Reports said that a 61-year-old man died after he lost control of his scooter amid clashes taking place in the Eidgah area of Srinagar. Eyewitnesses said that Mushtaq Ahmed of Rajouri Kadal, who was driving his Scooty, was caught in the middle of heavy shelling by the forces in the area. He fell down from his scooter and sustained critical head injuries. He succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS hospital.
In Safa Kadal area of Srinagar, at least 10 persons received pellet injuries in the clashes that erupted in the area. Angry youths hurled stones at forces deployed in the area, and the forces resorted to heavy teargas and pellet gun firing to disperse the youth. The clashes were still going on when this report was filed.
Clashes with government forces were also reported from Sakidafar, Darish Kadal, Kake Sarai, Saida Kadal, Rainawari, 90 Feet Road, Soura, Illahi Bagh, Eidgah, Nawab Bazar, Sarai Balla, Jahangir Chowk, Kawadara, Bemina, Batamaloo, Maisuma, Chattabal, Karan Nagar and Downtown areas in Srinagar.
At a few places in Srinagar, people carried out separate peaceful processions which turned violent after forces deployed in the area stopped them from moving any further.
Pro-freedom leaders had called for relaxation of the shutdown after 2pm to allow people to buy essentials, but shopkeepers in Safa Kadal area said that they were forced to shut down shops after forces “harassed” the local youths. Across the city the markets remained closed even after 2pm, mostly due to clashes taking place in the areas.
Reports said pro-freedom songs eulogising slain civilians were being played from mosques at several places. Residents of Sakidafar and Chattabal offered Zuhr (afternoon) prayers on the road as a mark of protest against the killings in the Valley.
In south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, at least six people, including a girl, sustained pellet injuries in clashes at Malakhnag area. As soon as curfew was lifted at about 4 pm, groups of youth came out on the roads and clashed with forces by throwing stones at them. The forces in retaliation fired pellet ammunition at the youth. Five youth and a girl who was passing by were hit by pellets.
Chief medical officer of Anantnag district, Dr Fazil Kochak said that five people with pellet injuries were brought to the (Anantnag) hospital. “All of them were discharged after their pellets were removed. None of them had critical injuries,” the CMO said.
Clashes also erupted in Janglat Mundi area of Anantnag town after local youths attacked the police post in the area. Witnesses said that after the deployment of forces was withdrawn from the area, scores of youth hit the roads and hurled rocks at the nearby police post. The clashes were continuing when this report was filed.
Some localities of Anantnag town, including Anchidora and Laizbal, witnessed late-night protests on Monday night against the arrests of at least eight youth while they were going towards Anantnag as part of the ‘Islamabad Chalo’ call given by the joint resistance leadership for Monday. The procession on their way had set ablaze the building of the irrigation department, reports said.
In several areas of Shopian district, which include Pahnoo, Pinjoora, Tehlipora, Trenz, Chitragam, Urpora, Imam Sahib and other adjoining areas, people took out rallies in more than 300 vehicles. Sources said that the demonstrators, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, asked people to “follow the Hurriyat protest calendar in letter and spirit”.
Reports said that the army thrashed several people in Kitchhama area of Baramulla after the locals refused to visit the medical camp organised by the army. Reports said that the army forcibly dragged out people from their homes and asked them to visit the medical camp. Clashes erupted in the area after this.
Protests and clashes with forces were also reported from main town Pulwama, Ruhmoo, Pakharpora, Kareemabad, Newa, Gudoora, Wagam, Wehbug, Lajoora, Tuchal, and Malangpora areas of Pulwama district on Tuesday.
In Tahab area of Pulwama, youths hurled stones on forces while holding a protest rally in vehicles. The forces retaliated with heavy teargas and pellet gun firing.
Mobile and internet services remain suspended in the Valley, with only government owned-BSNL Broadband and post-paid services working. Train services also remain suspended. A police statement said that post-paid mobile services would be restored from Tuesday night.
The police handout released here on Tuesday said, “The situation throughout the Kashmir valley remained peaceful and under control today.”
The statement said that curfew was lifted from all towns/areas of the valley in the morning except in Anantnag, where it was lifted in the afternoon.
“There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley although some stray stone-pelting incidents were reported from a few places. All post-paid mobile services are being restored tonight,” said the statement.
—With inputs from Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad