127 injured in firing at Kulgam admitted to hospitals; funeral of man killed by bureaucrat’s security guard attended by thousands
Srinagar: More than 130 people were injured at a single place in Kulgam district on Wednesday after forces fired dozens of ammunition rounds on a bike rally organised by the locals as part of the anti-India uprising.
People from several areas of Kulgam were travelling on bikes towards Damhal Hanjipora to hold a peaceful demonstration there. They said that as soon as the rally reached Arijan Damhal, a large contingent of forces intercepted and attacked the rally with pellet guns and teargas shells. Reports said that as many as 150 people have been injured by the troops.
Chief Medical Officer of Kulgam, Ashiq Hussain, told Kashmir Reader that 127 injured from Arijan were admitted to different hospitals in Kulgam district.
He said that five among the injured have sustained pellet injuries in the eyes and two persons, including a 10-year old boy, have suffered fractures. He said that one person has suffered injuries in his head. “These persons were referred to Srinagar for further treatment,” he said.
Sources said that dozens of motorcycles on which the protesters had come were set ablaze by the forces in Damhal Hanjipora.
In Lethpora, where the personal security officer of Ramban ADC Babu Ram fired on a crowd, killing one man and critically injuring another on Tuesday evening, four persons were injured from pellets and teargas shells fired on a crowd of protesters.
Earlier in the day, thousands of people from Samboora, Barsoo, Pampore, Ladhoo, Tral, Chandhara, Kakpora, Pulwama, Awantipora, Hajibal, Banderpora and Hathiwara participated in the funeral of Farooq Ahmad Kuchey who was shot dead by the security guard of the bureaucrat. The body was buried at the local Eidgah of Lethpora.
After the funeral, intense clashes erupted on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway that left dozens of people injured. Chief Medical Officer of Pampore said that four youths were admitted in the hospital on Wednesday.
“Among them a youth, who has sustained pellet injuries in his eye, has been referred to Pampore hospital,” he said.
In Pulwama district, thousands of people carrying green flags and raising anti-India, pro-freedom slogans demonstrated at Qoil and Astanpora areas. In Burhan’s hometown Tral, hundreds of people offered Zuhr and Asr prayers on roads at several places as a mark of defiance of government restrictions.
Following the ‘Awnera chalo’ call given by senior citizens of several areas of Shopian district, thousands of people went to Awnera chanting pro-freedom slogans and held demonstrations there.
At least three persons are reported to have been injured in Churpora Narbal area of Budgam after government forces shot several rounds of pellets and teargas shells at protesters. Sources said that soon after Asr prayers, a huge gathering that included women, assembled at the main chowk Narbal and raised anti-India and pro-azadi slogans. The forces attacked the assembly with teargas and pellets.
At tourist spot Pahalgam, pro-freedom protests were attacked by government forces with teargas and troops fired bullets in the air to scare protesters. Witnesses said that hundreds of people including youth, elderly and children, marched from different villages towards Pahalgam town raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. As the protesters reached near Poshwan park, police and paramilitary troops fired several warning shots to stop them from marching ahead. The people refused to stop and then the forces fired teargas shells at them. The people responded by pelting the troops with stones for an hour. At least eight people and six troops sustained minor injuries during the clashes.
Locals said that after the clashes, CRPF men went on a rampage and broke the glass panes of several hotels, restaurants, guest houses, vehicles and residential houses. They also broke the window glasses of a local masjid.
Meanwhile, Azadi roadshows and protest marches were organised in almost all the rural areas of the four districts of south Kashmir.
In Srinagar, the killing of a 22-year-old youth of Chattabal, whose corpse was found at midnight lying on a road with bullet wounds in his abdomen, triggered massive protests in several areas of the city.
Witnesses said that the body of Riyaz Ahmad Shah was found in pool of blood on Medical College road, a few metres away from a CRPF camp. A witness said that the Karan Nagar police station was informed of the body when it was found at Tuesday midnight. “The SHO along with a few policemen of Karan Nagar police station arrived immediately and said he would take the body to the hospital. But instead of taking it to the SMHS hospital which was steps away from the spot, police took the body to Police Control Room Srinagar. We were about ten people there then. We were unable to do anything to stop the police from hijacking the youth’s body,” a witness said.
Thousands began marching towards Riyaz’s house in Guzarbal, Chattabal, as soon as the body which was kept at the police control room all through the night and for a few hours in the morning, reached his home.
Amid loud sloganeering by thousands of mourners, the body was taken to the martyrs’ graveyard in Eidgah for burial, defying the curfew imposed by the administration.
Fierce clashes erupted in Chattabal and its adjoining areas of Safa Kadal, Sakidafer, Kaka Sarai, Cement Bridge, Noorbagh and Nawakadal where people pelted troops with stones and came under pellet and teargas firing.
Meanwhile, pro-freedom leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq held a sit-in protest outside their residences in Hyderpora and Nigeen. The leaders have called for sit-in protests across Kashmir on Thursday.
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat activists carried out a protest march which was intercepted by the police. The activists later held a sit-in protest outside the gate of the Hurriyat (G) office.
JKLF vice-chairman Mushtaq Ahmad Ajmal along with zonal organisers Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri, Jan Muhammad, Bashrat Ahmad and Shahid Makayaon participated in the funeral of Riyaz Ahmad at Eidgah martyrs’ graveyard.
Before this, JKLF leaders and activists participated in a protest sit-in at Karan Nagar where a large number of people from all walks of life joined them.
Reports were received of government troops having attacked shops and homes located on the main road in Mehjoor Nagar. Witnesses said that the troops damaged whatever came in their way. Locals offered Asr prayers on roads as a mark of protest against the hooliganism.
Reports said that the condition of teenager Suhail Ahmad Wani, who was one of the three injured in Tuesday night’s firing at Trigam in Kupwara, is said to be critical. He is still in Intensive Care Unit at SKIMS, Soura.
Curfew remained in force in five police station areas of old city and was extended to Batamaloo, Shaheedgunj, Soura, Zadibal, Qamarwari and Bemina areas on Wednesday.
Curfew was also imposed in Khanpora, Pampore and Awanitpora areas of Baramulla and Pulwama district while Anantnag town in south Kashmir remains under curfew.
(With inputs from Bilal Habib, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shabir Ahmad, Gowhar Maqbool)