SRINAGAR: Scores of people were injured once again by government forces in Kashmir on the 35th day of the anti-India uprising on Friday. SMHS and SKIMS, the two main hospital of the valley, received 52 injured, mostly hit by pellets. At SMHS, 19 of the 38 admitted have received eye injuries while at SKIMS, among the 14 admitted was a person hit in the head. Scores of other injured were treated at their district, sub-district hospitals.
The joint pro-freedom leadership as part of its programme ‘to end Indian occupation’ had called for protests after Friday prayers. Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were kept under house arrest while JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik continues to languish in Central Jail Srinagar.
In the 35 days of curfew and restrictions in Kashmir, 58 people including two cops have been killed and over 5,500 civilians injured, more than 500 with pellet injuries in their eyes.
The government had imposed strict curfew across the valley, snapped all private mobile phone services, and blocked all entry and exit points of districts by barricades and razor wires.
Police on Thursday had appealed to people to stop their children from taking part in ‘stone pelting’, besides asking clerics to not deliver provocative speeches.
Following not the appeal of the police but the directions of the pro-freedom leadership, people took out anti-India protest demonstrations and were attacked with pellets, teargas shells, pepper gas and aerial firing. At many places the protests morphed into pitched stone fighting, including in parts of the old Srinagar city soon after curfew was lifted in the evening.
Scores of peaceful protests were taken out from Rainawari, Chota bazaar, Kani Kadal, Sarai Bala, Chattabal, Mala Bagh, Bagh-e-Mehtab areas that were dispersed by forces using teargas shells, pellets and aerial firing. Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid were disallowed for the fifth consecutive Friday. According to locals, forces didn’t allow them to venture out of their homes.
Massive stone fighting erupted at Khag, Beerwah and Ompora areas of central Kashmir’s Budgam district after Friday prayers during which police used teargas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters. At least 40 protesters were reported to be injured in the clashes but all are said to be stable. Clashes also erupted at Kojer area of Ganderbal district after Friday prayers.
In north Kashmir, people jointly offered Friday prayers at Eidgah Qadem and Rangwar ground in Baramulla. Forces blocked the town’s four bridges — Cement Kadal, Azad Gunj, Khanpura and Sheikh-u-Alam — by razor wires. The Sheikh-ul-Alam bridge was blocked by iron rods. These bridges connect old town Baramulla with Civil Lines.
The forces paid scant respect to the curfew pass issued by the district magistrate. Kashmir Reader Baramalla correspondent Mushtaq Ahmad was told by army personnel that “only passes issued by them will be allowed.”
A journalist, Irshad Ahmad, working with an Indian national news channel was also beaten by forces in Baramulla.
In Bandipora, peaceful protests at many places turned violent when forces waylaid them. A protest taken out from new Jamia Masjid was joined by other protesters, including women, at the district’s square.
A large procession on way to Kupwara Town from Muqam-e-Shah Wali was intercepted by police at Bohama and in the ensuing shelling, more than six persons sustained injuries. Peaceful protests were also held at Kandi, Brambi and Arampora villages of Kupwara.
Stone fighting occurred at Kralgund, Tikkipora and other areas of Lolab. Protesters at Tikkipora smashed the vehicle of a PDP sarpanch from Dewar, Manzoor Ahmad. He escaped unhurt.
In Shopian, at least 8 people sustained injuries following clashes between government forces and local youths at main town Shopian, Ziyarat Sharief, Reshipora, Qoimoh, Bugam, Khudwani and Mohanpora areas. Incidents of stone-fighting also took place at Choudhary Gund near DC office in Shopian where youths hurled rocks at the troops.
In Damhal Hanjipora four persons received injuries after forces attacked a protest demonstration. The forces fired several rounds of teargas and pellets to disperse the protesters.
Massive demonstrations were held in Bijbehara, Aariwan, Goriwan and Srigufwara areas of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The protesters made heavy sloganeering in favour of freedom and against India.
A huge pro-freedom rally, witnesses said, was taken out in Dialgam after thousands of people offered Friday congregational prayers. The procession dispersed peacefully later.
In Mattan township of Anantnag district, thousands of people offered Friday prayers at Hanifa Eidgah. Later, hundreds of people raising pro-freedom, pro-Burhan and anti-India slogans marched along the Khanabal-Pahalgam road. The rally culminated near Pran Bhawan peacefully. Pro-freedom processions were also taken out in Arwani, and several areas of Dooru, Kokernag and Bijbehara.
In Anchidora locality of Anantnag, hundreds of people took out a protest rally after offering Friday prayers. Raising pro-Azadi slogans the protesters marched towards the main town. On reaching Laizbal they were prevented by government forces from marching ahead. Clashes followed.
In Kachdoora area of Shopian, witnesses said that the army resorted to aerial firing to disperse a procession that was marching towards the army camp. In Arhama village of the district, people after Friday prayers took out a rally towards main town Shopian. On reaching near the mini-secretariat, forces stopped them from moving ahead by lobbing a few teargas shells at the procession.
A harsh curfew was enforced in all the four district headquarters of the region and other major townships. Huge contingents of forces wearing riot gear were deployed in the streets of all towns to curtail the movement of people. Forces also blocked main entry points of all the district headquarters. In Anantnag, army men were seen enforcing restrictions near Mominabad. A photojournalist working for a local daily said that army men checked their mobile phones when they were returning after covering a rally at Dialgam.
A peaceful protest march was carried out in Pampore town after Friday prayers offered jointly at Khanqah-e-Molla. The march, attended by thousands, moved through several areas and raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The march ended peacefully.
Reports said that more than a dozen persons sustained injuries in Burhan’s hometown Tral where heavy clashes erupted between youths and government forces. An official source at Tral sub-district hospital told Kashmir Reader that five persons injured during the clashes have been admitted to the hospital.
A youth sustained injuries during clashes in Kakapora area of Pulwama district where youths hurled stones at the forces while the forces resorted to heavy teargas and pellet gun firing.
Protest rallies were also reported from Ruhmoo and Gusoo areas where people carried flags and posts with them.
Clashes also erupted in Newa, Trisoo and Tahab areas of Pulwama areas after congregational prayers.
In Nagbal area of Shopian district, thousands of people jointly offered Friday prayers and held protest demonstrations in the village.
At least 47 persons sustained injuries in Doda district of Jammu division in Friday clashes that erupted in protests against the civilian killings. Locals said that police resorted to heavy ammunition firing to scatter the protesters who pelted forces with stones and raised pro-freedom slogans. A local Station House Officer (SHO) is reported to have sustained injuries.
Reports said that soon after the prayers, a group of youths engaged police in pitched battles at Ajar and Nowpora areas. Police lobbed tear smoke canisters to quell the protests.
Protesters from Poshkar, Khag, Sitharan, Habar who led a peaceful protest to Khag had to face pellets from the government forces with several youth receiving pellet injuries. The injured were later referred to SMHS for treatment.
More than three dozen incidents of stone pelting were reported from different districts of the Valley including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. Curfew was imposed in Srinagar and in the towns of Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Baramulla and Sopore.
After Friday prayers ‘miscreants’ assembled at various places and tried to disrupt the vehicular movement. At most of the places the ‘miscreants’ started pelting stones on moving vehicles, police and security force deployments.
The deployments exercised utmost restraint despite severe provocations at a number of places. Many police/security force men have been reported injured during these clashes.
At Arhama Ganderbal miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on security forces. While tackling the situation six persons were injured.
At Dooru Tangmarg about 300-400 miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on police and security forces. Two persons were injured, one of whom was shifted to Srinagar.
At Uttrsoo Anantnag miscreants pelted stones on police and security forces. While dispersing the mob, four persons suffered minor injuries who were discharged after first aid from the hospital.
A number of pro-freedom leaders were taken into police custody including Muslim League (ML) General Secretary Muhammad Rafiq Ganie, and shifted them to Srinagar’s central jail. Reportedly, police in the intervening night of Thursday-Friday raided the houses of several leaders including ML’s Rafiq Ganie, other ML leaders and activists, TeH’s Umar Adil and leaders and activists of other amalgams.
The leaders were arrested during the night and were lodged in police station Kothi Bagh and in the wee hours of Friday were shifted to Srinagar’s central jail.
With inputs from Nazir Gillo, Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad