30 wounded in Baramulla while thwarting police ‘search’ operation; 7-year-old suffers critical pellet injury; Hurriyat office raided once again; freedom rallies held in south Kashmir
Srinagar: Dozens of people were injured either in clashes with government forces or were beaten up during protests across the valley on the 43rd day of the raging anti-India uprising in which 67 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands injured so far.
More than 30 people were injured in Fatehgarh area of Baramulla district after they stopped government forces from carrying out a search operation.
Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that at about 1pm as many as 20 vehicles emptied troopers and policemen who surrounded the village.
When the villagers resisted and asked the forces to call off the operation, they were attacked with teargas shells, pellet ammunition. The forces also fired several rounds of ammunition in air.
The locals allege the forces had come to the village “with the intent of staging a gunfight”.
“We denied them entry as we smelled something fishy. The forces were carrying two men tied with ropes in their vehicles. They would have killed them and then claimed there was a gunfight,” a protester told Kashmir Reader.
The intensity of firing was such that marks of bullets were still visible on shop shutters and a power transformers.
Residents of Astanpora, Khanpora, Ibrahim Mohalla, Tawheed Mohalla, Banpora and Kralpora areas said that forces ransacked a number of residential houses and looted valuables worth lakhs of rupees.
A 50-year-old woman, Raja Begum, suffered multiple pellet injuries in her body.
She has been shifted to the sub-district hospital Baramulla. While as, Insha Farooq and Muskan Hameed, both 10, suffered baton and pellet injuries.
Earlier, a heavy deployment of forces were made across the Valley to prevent people from carrying out Azadi road shows the resistance leadership had asked people to carry out as part of an elaborate protest programme.
At least 12 persons sustained injuries following the clashes between youths and forces in main chowk Bandipora. Sources said forces fired dozens of teargas canisters and several pellet cartridges to disperse the protesters who amid heavy sloganeering in favour of freedom hurled rocks at the government forces.
A 7-year-old boy from Qalamdanpora sustained critical pellet injuries in his chest during late night clashes that erupted in Nawab Bazar area of Srinagar. The relatives of the boy, Junaid, said that the forces shot pellet fires at him without any provocation.
He is being treated at SMHS hospital.
Several pro-freedom rallies-cum-seminars were organized in South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Anantnag districts where speakers asserted on the need for unity to keep momentum of the on-going uprising and asked people to follow the protest programme of the pro-freedom leadership.
Tens of hundreds of people held pro-freedom rally and marched towards Pohwoh village on the call of the elders.
The participants, holding banners and green flags, raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. They also held demonstrations against the civilian killings during the on-going uprising.
Similar rallies were held in Pahnoo, Kakpora, Zainapora and Nagbal areas of the Shopian district, and Kaimoh, Khudwani and Bugam in Kulgam district. A car-and-bike rally was also held in Dachnipora area of Bijbehara town.
Clashes erupted in Dooru township of Anantnag between the government forces and youth after a large number of people assembled in Dooru market and staged a sit-in against the nocturnal raids and ransacking of the residential house of a local youth.
Witnesses said the forces fired tearsmoke shells and pepper gas grenades to disperse the protesters. The youths, in reply hurled stones at the forces triggering clashes in the area. The clashes lasted for several hours.
A massive unity seminar was organized in Nanil village of Anantnag district where scholars from various religious sects told the gathering to remain steadfast and follow the protest programme of resistance leadership.
District president Hurriyat G Hafizullah Mir addressing a rally at Nanil asked the people to ensure that members of minority communities Hindus and Sikhs are not harmed.
“It is our religious and moral duty to protect the minority communities and see if they are not facing any problems in these tough times,” Mir told the rally.
The participants at the seminar shouted pro-freedom slogans and later burnt effigy of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The incidents of stone-pelting were also reported from Lazibal, Khanabal and Janglat Mandi areas of Anantnag district.
At huge unity congregation organised was organised in Kenigam area of Shopian district. Thousands of people from different areas attended the conference.
In Rabon area of Kulgam, a similar congregation was organised in which thousands of people participated. People from different areas since early morning started marching towards the venue on two wheelers and cars.
Hundreds of people held protest demonstrations in Pinjoora, Tehlipora and Pahnoo areas of Shopian against the civilian killings and atrocities committed by the forces.
The residents of Poshkar and adjoining villages say that masked army personnel along with policemen have been raiding their area for the past few days.
The locals said that recently the village elders were called by the army camp stationed at Khag who asked them to help them in normalizing situation in the area that has seen protests.
“Army patrols during the night to terrorise people. We make announcements and villagers respond by raising hue and cry,” said one of the locals.
The employees of LD hospital held a protest demonstration against the government forces’ attacks on Ambulances and the hospital staff. The employees assembled at the entrance of the hospital and staged sit-in protest.
“If harassment (by forces) continues we have no option other than to go on strike,” president Nursing Association Kashmir, Parveena Khan said.
She said that forces even ask hospital staff to make way for themselves on blocked roads and relocate the concertina wires which wastes our lot of time and could prove dangerous in emergency cases.
The Bandipora Doctors Association also held a protest demonstration against the forces harassment and use of pellet guns on civilian protesters in Kashmir.
The head office of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz was raided by police on Saturday and harassed the staff there.
A spokesman of Hurriyat (M) said that it is the second raid in a week at its headquarters in Rajbagh, conducted by the police under supervision of Rajbagh police station.
In a statement, the amalgam said the staff was harassed, the office ransacked and the communication systems were disconnected by the police.
“We reiterate that all these tactics will not deter Hurriyat cadres from their commitment to the people’s movement,” a spokesman said.
A complete shutdown was observed in Banihal town against the civilian killings in Kashmir on Saturday. The people raised slogans in favour of freedom and held demonstrations against the killings.
A mentally challenged youth identified as Rameez alias Jana son of Ghulam Mohammad was arrested at Charkoot village in Lolab valley when army raided this village of around 70 households.
The locals said a heavy contingent of forces beat up people and broke windowpanes of several residential houses.
Meanwhile, the post-paid mobile services were restored across Kashmir after they were suspended for the second time on the eve of Independence Day of India. The mobile internet and outgoing call facility on pre-paid phones, however, remains suspend.
‘SHO Arshid Khan beats Bijbehara elder’
Anantnag: Residents of Bijbehara town on Saturday said controversial police officer, Arshid Ahmad Khan, humiliated, abused and beat-up an old man, Mohammad Shafi, when he was sitting inside his medical shop in town.
Witnesses said the officer dragged the old man by his beard and beat him up. They said the officer publicly abused Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The local inhabitants said Khan has unleashed a reign of terror in the area.
—With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad, Bilal Habib, Owais Farooqi