Srinagar: The government imposed strict restrictions on people’s movement on Saturday to foil the ‘Kulgam Chalo’ march called for by the pro-freedom leadership. All main routes to Kulgam were blocked with concertina wires and guarded by large contingents of troops. Elsewhere in the Valley, government forces continued to attack pro-freedom rallies and injured more than a hundred civilians.
More than 30 people sustained injuries during clashes with government forces when they tried to foil a pro-freedom rally-cum-seminar at Matribugh village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. Witnesses said that a contingent of forces entered the village to disrupt the rally but youths resisted the troops several meters before the rally venue. The forces’ action led to intense clashes at Chakoora and Hermain villages of the district, where youths hurled stones at troops while the latter shot pellets and tear smoke canisters at them. The injured were either treated locally or were taken to nearby health centres. Locals said that government troops ransacked several residential houses in the two villages, smashing windowpanes and also beating up inmates.
At least 18 civilians were injured after troops raided the venue of a pro-freedom rally at Nehand village of Bijbehara town in Anantnag district. The locals had called for a march towards Nehand village to hold a pro-freedom rally there, but government troops raided the venue and ransacked it, which caused youths to pelt them with stones.
Police SDPO Tanveer Ahmad was seriously injured after a stone hit him in the face and broke his tooth. He and other injured were rushed to nearby health facilities in the district.
Locals alleged that the troops thrashed house inmates and broke window glasses of several residential houses in Nehand village. Later, clashes also erupted at nearby village of K Kalan where forces damaged the private property of locals.
Dozens of persons sustained injuries during clashes that erupted after people offered funeral prayers for slain 11-year-old boy in New Theed area of Harwan in Srinagar. The boy was allegedly beaten to death by policemen on late Friday evening. One person was seriously injured during the clashes and was admitted to a nearby hospital. One youth was reportedly missing till late night. Locals expressed apprehensions that the youth may have been captured by police.
Fierce clashes broke out at SK Colony after government forces created havoc in the locality by damaging vehicles and window glasses of homes. Government troops showered pellets at the protesters and also fired tear smoke canisters at them. Eight people were injured and were rushed to different health centres for treatment.
Demonstrations were held against night raids by government forces in Dadsara area of Tral town. The demonstrators raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Youths later pelted troops with stones. The troops shot several rounds of teargas shells to quell the protesters.
Several people sustained injuries after forces shot rounds of pellets and bullets to chase away protesting people at Wussan, Kangan, in Ganderbal district. The youth pelted forces with stones and came under heavy shelling and bullet firing by the forces. One person sustained serious injuries during the clashes and was rushed to SKIMS hospital due to severity of his injuries.
Clashes erupted between youths and government troops in Larnoo village of Kulgam where youths hurled stones at the troops and raised slogans in favour of Islam and freedom of Kashmir. The troops fired teargas shells to disperse the stone-throwing youths.
Government troops raided old town Baramulla late Saturday night. Locals said that the forces fired several bullets in the air and also damaged the local power transformers.
“During the last 24 hours, about 8 transformers have been damaged by the forces. They deliberately fire directly on the transformers,” a Baramulla resident said.
Troops also raided Nihalpora village in the district and damaged five power transformers by firing bullets at them during the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday. Three transformers were also damaged in Pattan area of Baramulla district.
Mobile phones services that were snapped on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha continue to remain suspended, except government-owned BSNL postpaid services, in the entire Kashmir valley.
Late-night protests and clashes also erupted at Pampore town and in Srinagar old city areas. The forces shot tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. Residents of Pampore alleged that government troops had damaged their private property.
A police statement issued here in the evening said that 58 persons were arrested in the past 24 hours. “In continuous drive against miscreants and instigators, 58 such individuals found involved in the offences of damaging civilian vehicles, shops/houses and placing obstructions on roads/lanes have been arrested during last 24 hours,” the statement said.
The statement said that five incidents of stone-pelting took place in Wussan in Ganderbal, Mehend in Anantnag, New Theed and Nishat in Srinagar, and Padgampora in Awantipora.
“Although restrictions under section 144/CrPC remained in force in the valley, curfew was imposed in some parts of Srinagar, Budgam and Kulgam towns only, in view of the chalo calls given by some separatists,” the police said.
With Inputs from Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad