Budgam youth was maimed last month in forces’ action; 250 more injured in fresh protests
Srinagar: A 17-year-old boy who was injured on August 5, the day the pro-freedom leadership called for a march to Hazratbal, succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS hospital Soura on Sunday.
Official sources at SKIMS hospital told Kashmir Reader that the youth was hit by a bullet in his right leg and was kept on ventilator in Intensive Care Unit ever since he was admitted to the hospital.
The slain youth, Javed Ahmad Dar, son of Ghulam Mohammad Dar, was a resident of Wadwan village of Budgam district. He was injured at Narbal in central Kashmir’s Budgam district during evening clashes with government forces on August 5.
His elder brother, Mohammad Ashraf, said that Javed had gone to Narbal to offer Friday prayers but that day a pro-freedom march towards Hazratbal came under attack by a heavy deployment of troops who fired bullets, pellets and teargas shells at the marchers. Javed was one among the dozens injured in the firing. His bullet-hit right leg showed no recovery ever after five surgeries. The leg was later amputated, the doctors said, to prevent infection in the rest of the body.
The family of Javed said that more than 35 units of blood were injected into him after he suffered severe blood loss as he lay bleeding for half-an-hour at the spot where he fell. The family said that government troops did not let people take Javed to hospital.
Thousands of people poured into Wadwan village to participate in the funeral prayers of Javed. Mosque loudspeakers played pro-freedom songs and people were asked to assemble at the native village of the deceased youth.
Later, scores of people shouting slogans in praise of Islam participated in the last rites of the slain youth. People then held demonstrations against the youth’s killing.
In volatile Karimabad area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, more than 170 civilians were injured after personnel of Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF, police and anti-insurgency SOG entered the village early in the morning and beat up numerous residents after barging into their homes.
The troops thrashed dozens of inmates, including women and children and the elderly, dragging people out of their houses and beating them on the roads. Locals alleged that the forces abused and misbehaved with women when they tried to save the men from the ruthless baton-charge by troops.
“At about 6am, as many as 60 vehicles carrying hundreds of troops entered the village and without any provocation barged into our houses, where they started beating inmates and damaging household goods,” said Zubair Ahmad, a Karimabad resident who was attending to an injured patient at SMHS hospital.
He said that locals made announcements on public address systems of local mosques for people to come out on roads and resist the troops. Intense clashes with troops occurred after hundreds of people from several nearby villages reached Karimabad and hurled rocks at the troops. The troops fired pellet ammunition and bullets at the protesters that left many people injured, several of them seriously. The clashes continued even as locals carried the injured to nearby health facilities.
“We told women to go to their relatives’ homes in nearby villages for safety and then every villager joined the protest against the forces. The forces continued shooting pellets and tear smoke shells and even shot several rounds of bullets at us,” said 24-year-old Younis, resident of Karimabad village.
A senior official at district hospital Pulwama told Kashmir Reader that 140 civilians injured at Karimabad were admitted to the hospital.
“Among them, 16 injured, mostly having pellets in eye, have been referred to Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said. Three of the injured have received severe injuries. A few of the injured were shifted to public health centres at Rahmoo, Newa and Parigam villages.
Medical Superintendent of SMHS hospital, Dr Nazir Choudhary, told Kashmir Reader that 33 injured, majority of them from Pulwama district, were admitted to the hospital on Sunday.
“Among them, 16 persons have pellet injuries in eyes and they are undergoing treatment at the hospital,” Choudhary said.
The forces have also arrested about 20 youths from Kareemabad and reportedly one among them is the bother of slain militant Naseer Pandit.
At least 25 people were injured after government troops attacked a pro-freedom seminar with teargas shelling and pellet firing at Rathsun village of Budgam district.
Witnesses said that an Ittihad-e-Millat seminar was organised by the locals and it was taking place at Markaz-e-Jamia Masjid in Rathsun when a heavy contingent of forces reached the venue and fired pellets and teargas shells. The forces’ action, witnesses said, created panic and clashes erupted between angry youths and forces that left several civilians injured.
Sources said that troops also set afire the tent erected by the locals and dozens of motorcycles belonging to the participants. The troops had also come during the midnight and had fired pellets to warn the locals to not organise the rally.
Heavy restrictions remained imposed at majority of the areas of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district even as more than a dozen people sustained injuries during night clashes that broke out between youths and government forces at a few places in the district.
Eight people are reported to have been injured during night clashes at Baramulla town when people protesting against damage of private property by troops came under attack. Youths hurled stones at forces while the latter lobbed tear smoke canisters at them. The injured were rushed to nearby health facilities.
Clashes also erupted at Palhallan area of Sopore town after troops raided the village to make arrests in the area. The shelling by troops left at least four people injured.
On Sunday, all the four bridges connecting old town Baramulla with the rest of the area were blocked with razor wires and no one was allowed to move across the bridges throughout the day. Mild clashes were reported from Cement Bridge and Azadgunj Bridge areas of Baramulla.
Several pro-freedom rallies were held at various places in Baramulla district, including, Patten, Palhallan, Baramulla town, Sangrama and Zangir areas. The people raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
A pro-freedom rally-cum-seminar was foiled and attacked with tear smoke shells and pellet ammunition at Markundal village of Hajin in Bandipora district. Locals said that troops reached the rally venue at around 4pm and set ablaze a tent and a banner meant for the rally. The action triggered heavy clashes in the area in which 19 persons suffered injuries. The clashes lasted for several hours. The injured were shifted to health centres of Hajin and other nearby villages. The people of several nearby villages like Naidkhai, Khomieni and Hajin were supposed to attend the rally.
Local sources said that forces also set ablaze several two-wheelers and a car on which participants had come to attend the rally.
Hundreds of two-wheelers, cars, automobiles and other vehicles were part of a huge rally that was carried out from Redwani in south Kashmir’s Kulgam and which moved through several villages like Qaimoh, Frisal and Arwani. Witnesses said that defying heavy restrictions, scores of people from dozens of villages travelled on vehicles and raised slogans in favour of freedom. The rally ended peacefully. At Bogund village in the district, an all-women rally was taken out in which participants raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi addressed the rally by telephone.
Curfew-like restrictions were seen at Anantnag town where a youth from Botengo village was killed by forces on Saturday. Locals had called for a march towards Lal Chowk in Anantnag to hold a demonstration against the killing.
Eight people received injuries after forces fired tear smoke canisters and pellets to foil a pro-freedom seminar at Zamalgam village of Dooru in district Anantnag. Witnesses said that a heavy contingent of troops reached the venue in the morning and shot pellet ammunition at the gathering. The locals, in retaliation, hurled stones at the forces and the pitched battle continued for several hours. The locals alleged that the troops fired bullets at local power transformers to damage them.
Authorities enforced a strict curfew in Trehgam town of Kupwara district to foil ‘Trehgam Chalo’ call given by leaders of pro-freedom groups at the district level. CRPF and police deployed in strength barricaded the Kupwara-Chowkibal road near Trehgam to bar civilian and vehicular movement to the town. “The men in uniform even did not allow local residents to come out of their homes throughout the day. They were seen patrolling the town and did not allow any vehicle to enter the town,” said Irshad Ahmad, a Trehgam resident. Private vehicles heading towards Trehgam town were turned back by forces deployed near Hirri and Shumnag, people said.
Residents of Kupwara town took out a protest march near Jamia Masjid Kupwara. They raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans before dispersing peacefully.
Locals of Tukroo village of Shopian district where a youth was killed on Saturday said that government forces ransacked dozens of residential houses and damaged household goods worth lakhs during a night raid on Saturday. They alleged that forces damaged electronic goods like refrigerators, televisions and other appliances, and robbed cash and jewellery from several houses.
Government troops are reported to have damaged five electric transformers in Rathsun village of Budgam early in the morning. Locals said that troops cordoned the area in the morning saying they were preparing for an encounter, but instead damaged transformers.
According to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Basheer Ahmad Khan, there was no curfew on Sunday anywhere in the Kashmir valley, an official spokesperson said.
“However, restrictions were imposed in few places in Srinagar as also in some towns in the Valley,” he said. “The overall situation remained under control throughout the Valley.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir said, “Stray stone pelting incidents were reported from Sopore, Pulwama and Budgam. There was increased movement of traffic in Srinagar city as well as in the towns. Shops were opened at various places and people were seen making purchases,” the statement said.
—With inputs from Bilal Habib, Mushtaq Ahmad, Mohammad Amin and Gowhar Maqbool