Police led by Dy SP attack Kani Kadal area in Srinagar; forces continue to ransack homes and arrest youth; Hizb posters in Ganderbal issue death threats to those disrespecting protest calendar
Srinagar: Among 25 persons injured by government forces in Bandipora on Monday, one youth was hit in the head and doctors say his condition is critical. An 18-year-old girl in Ganderbal is also critical from injuries suffered on Monday when the government forces fired teargas shells and pellets at women protesting against the arrest of a local youth.
A heavy deployment of forces remained in place in downtown Srinagar and south Kashmir towns on Monday, the day the government officially lifted curfew from all areas in Kashmir Valley except in Pulwama town and MR Gunj and Nowhatta areas of Srinagar. Dozens of people were injured in clashes with government forces that occurred across the Valley on the 52nd day of the anti-India uprising that continues unabated in Kashmir.
Intense clashes took place in several places of Srinagar city, including Batamaloo, Kani Kadal, Chhota Bazar, Nowpora, Sakidafer, Khanyar, Noorbagh, Syed Pora, Reck Chowk and old-city areas where youths hurled stones at the forces and came under heavy teargas shelling and pellet firing.
In Kani Kadal area, troops beat up several residents including women, leaving 25 persons injured. Locals said that a contingent of forces barged into residential houses and thrashed “brutally” the inmates. An elderly woman said: “They (SOG men) came and cordoned off the entire area. DySP Yasir Qadri (who headed the contingent) ordered his men to barge into houses and ransack everything there.”
The woman said that the police officer shouted, “Bring out their daughters on the road. Their husbands have arrived.”
Locals said that some women had received scratches on their faces from the assault they suffered at the hands of the police.
In Batamaloo, witnesses said, a protest march was taken out towards the bus stand but forces blocked it with teargas and pellet firing.
In north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, forces beat up several villagers injuring at least 25 people, one among them critically. Witnesses at district hospital Bandipora told Kashmir Reader that the forces, which included personnel of SOG, police and the army’s 13 RR unit, “ruthlessly” beat locals after barging into residential houses. The troops thrashed everyone living in Ajas and Sodnoora villages and broke windowpanes of dozens of residential houses. The villagers later held demonstrations and youth hurled rocks at troops at several places in the district. The forces shot live ammunition at the protesters. Two persons were hit by bullets in their legs. They are now admitted at SKIMS hospital in Srinagar.
The block medical officer of Bandipora told Kashmir Reader that 10 persons among the injured were referred to SMHS hospital and the JVC hospital due to severity of their injuries. Six others are undergoing treatment at district hospital Bandipora. He said that one person was hit in the head and his condition is critical.
At least 8 persons were injured when government forces attacked a group of people at Mattergam village in Kulgam district when they were heading towards Gandwani following a call given by locals.
Witnesses said that forces fired teargas and pellets to prevent people from marching to Gandwani village. Clashes ensued after angry youths hurled stones at the troops.
A huge pro-freedom seminar was later organised in the village that witnessed the participation of thousands of people. The religious scholars who addressed the gathering warned of government agents and asked people to remain vigilant.
At least 6 persons were injured in Tapper area of Pattan in Baramulla district after clashes erupted between forces and youths. Witnesses said that the forces resorted to heavy teargas and pellet gun firing to scatter the protesters. The injured were shifted to nearby health facilities.
Clashes erupted in old town Baramulla after government forces intercepted a protest march. Witness said that the forces lobbed several rounds of teargas and fired pellets to disperse the protesting people. Youths hurled rocks at the troops. At least 6 persons sustained injuries when forces opened fire near Cement bride and Azad Gunj bridge.
A protest march was carried out in Choor village in Hygam area of Baramulla against the arrest of four local youths on charges of stone-pelting. Villagers took out a protest march and tried to block the national highway but were prevented from doing so by the forces. The forces lobbed several rounds of teargas and fired pellets to scatter the people demanding immediate release of the arrested youth.
Intense clashes broke out between youth and government forces at Kaloosa area of Bandipora district in protest against the assault on an elderly person of the locality.
Witnesses said people were holding a peaceful protest against the “brutal assault on 55-year-old Muhammad Shafi Bhat of Watpora Bala late on Sunday evening” when they were attacked by a heavy contingent of troops.
“Mohammad Shafi Bhat was attacked near the compound of the army’s 27 RR Maratha Regiment at about 11pm. The soldiers hit him on his head with gun butts, resulting in grievous injuries. He received 11 stitches,” a protester told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the forces fired teargas and pellets to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes in the area. Some of the protesters sustained minor injuries.
Demonstrations were held in Tombay and Mattergam villages in Kulgam district against the arrest of some youths by the police. Clashes also erupted in Bugund in Kulgam and Newa and Bellow villages in Pulwama district against the ransacking of residential houses by government troops.
A blood donation camp was organised by Auqaf Committee Drussoo where 52 units of blood were collected and sent to district hospital Pulwama.
Protest rallies were taken out in Batingoo village in Khanabal and Achabal area of Kokernag against the arrest of youths on charges of stone-pelting.
Several persons sustained injuries after government forces attacked a pro-freedom march in Kremshore area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Witnesses said that the forces fired pellets and teargas at people, injuring many. Clashes also broke out in Hangigund, Kanihama and Mazhama villages in the district that left at least 6 persons injured. The villagers were protesting against the ransacking of houses by troops and the arrest of a local youth.
A girl at Fatehpora in Ganderbal suffered a fracture in her nose when a teargas shell fired by police hit her face. She was immediately taken to the district hospital where an X-ray confirmed fracture in her nasal bone.
According to reports, police raided a house in Rakh-i-Harran area where a youth was arrested, but women in large numbers came out and blocked the road. They did not allow the police vehicle to leave the area. Police resorted to a baton-charge and lobbed teargas shells to disperse the protesting women, during which an 18-year-old girl was critically injured.
There are reports of police dressed in civilian clothing having raided several homes in Barsoo, Dhobipora, Kangan, Fatehpora, Malshahibagh and Tullamulla areas in Budgam and having arrested 6 youths. People from Malshahibagh alleged that police was harassing people and causing damage to houses and cars.
At least 3 persons including a minor were injured in clashes between protesters and government forces in Regipora village of Kupwara district in the evening.
Locals said that CRPF and police ransacked some houses and damaged windowpanes after clashes that erupted when a group of youths took to streets raising pro-freedom slogans.
“The security men went berserk following the clashes. They ransacked houses and abused women and broke windowpanes of at least four houses. They did not spare even the children. They also damaged the windscreen of a few vehicles parked in the area,” Hafeeza Begum, a resident of Regipora, said.
Following the clashes, authorities imposed curfew in Kupwara at about 6pm. Troops deployed in strength enforced the curfew.
Some youths attacked an ambulance carrying a patient and two attendants to a Srinagar hospital from Kupwara. A senior doctor at Kupwara hospital told Kashmir Reader that the miscreants halted the ambulance near Bramari village and attacked it with stones. “They beat the attendants mercilessly and broke the windscreen. An attendant had to receive 12 stitches in his head and the other had eight stitches,” he said.
The block medical officer of Kupwara, Dr Farid Ahmad, appealed to local youths to not target ambulances and medical staff. “Last week, our ambulance was attacked with stones at the same spot. The miscreants targeted the ambulance today as well,” he said.
Residents of Liver village in famous tourist resort of Pahalgam alleged that the army and the police SOG barged into homes and beat up inmates there.
A complete shutdown was observed by the Muslim community in Bhaderwah and Doda regions of Jammu against the arrest of a youth and the killings of civilians by government forces. Shops and business establishments belonging to Muslims remained closed, though government schools, offices and banks were functioning normally and traffic was plying on roads as usual.
The shutdown call was issued by Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhaderwah and Bar Association Doda to protest against the arrest of young social worker Advocate Babur-ul-Hasan under the Public Safety Act. Members of the Bar Association suspended their work to protest the arrest of Babur-ul-Hasan.
Meanwhile, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen posters issuing murderous threats to shopkeepers and vehicle owners who do not respect the Hurriyat’s protest calendar were found pasted on street walls and electric poles in Beehama, Duderhama and Saloora areas of Ganderbal.
Reports said that the posters read that the ongoing freedom struggle had attained a huge impact and entered a decisive phase, so people needed to follow the shutdown calls in a strict way. The posters issued threats to the life and property of those who do not obey and respect the resistance leadership.
A statement issued in Srinagar by the police said that “Following improvement in situation, curfew was lifted from all parts of Kashmir valley this morning except Pulwama town and the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police station MR Gunj and Police Station Nowhatta.”
“Minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Islamabad, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora.”
The statement said that “some miscreants in their effort to disturb the situation pelted stones on police and security force deployments in these areas.”
“Except for these incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control throughout the Kashmir valley till filling of this report. Greater movement of traffic and people was observed across the valley including the city Srinagar,” the statement said.
-With inputs from Owais Farooqi, Bilal Habib, Gowhar Maqbool, Mushtaq Ahmad and Mohammad Amin