Homes of Hurriyat leaders ransacked in Sopore and Shopian, 7 slapped with PSA in Bandipora, transformers damaged with bullets, dozens injured in attacks on rallies
Srinagar: Anti-India protests and clashes between youths and government forces continued on Wednesday, and restrictions on movement remained imposed at majority of the areas in the Valley with razor wires laid on streets to prevent people from holding protests.
Two women were among 12 people injured after government troops raided Shangran area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district to foil a scheduled rally. Witnesses said that contingents of the army’s Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and police entered the village during morning hours and fired tear smoke shells and pellets indiscriminately at the people. Youths hurled stones at the troops and kept them engaged for several hours. They finally succeeded in driving away the forces from the rally venue. The rally was then held at the same venue.
Locals alleged that the forces damaged private vehicles in which people from several nearby villages had arrived to participate in the rally.
Four of the injured, including two women, were hit by pellets and were taken to Anantnag district hospital for treatment.
In another raid on a scheduled pro-freedom rally, forces injured at least six people. They first baton-charged the people to drive them away from the rally venue and later fired dozens of teargas shells and pellets. The people hurled stones at the forces. The injured were rushed to nearby health facilities in Anantnag district.
At least eight people sustained injuries during clashes that erupted at Cement Bridge and Azad Gunj Bridge in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Youths pelted forces with stones while troops lobbed tear smoke canisters and fired pellet guns at the stone-throwing youths. The injured were either shifted to nearby hospitals or were treated locally.
Residents of Azad Gunj alleged that forces damaged two local transformers by firing bullets directly at them. They said that more than 18 power transformers have been damaged by forces during the past fifteen days.
At Bagloo Bagh area of old town Baramulla, government troops damaged several residential houses and broke their windowpanes. People of the area later held a protest demonstration against the vandalism.
Residents of several villages in Sopore put up sand bags to guard power transformers in their area from the government forces. The residents have put up sand bags around transformers in several places of Sopore town.
A motorcycle that witnesses said a policeman was riding was set afire by unknown people at Nawab Bazar area of old city Srinagar. Witnesses said that youths who had blocked the road stopped the biker and asked for his identity card which, they said, he refused to show. The youths suspected him to be a government official or a policeman but the man fled from the spot. His motorcycle was later set on fire. The police said had have no information about the incident.
Six persons sustained injuries following clashes between youths and government forces at Nagbal area of Shopian district. Witnesses said that a police vehicle met with an accident in the locality and when government forces arrived at the accident spot to assess the damage, youths hurled stones at them. The police fired tear smoke canisters and pellets to scatter the stone-throwing youths. Five policemen sustained injuries in the vehicle accident.
Policemen raided the house of Tereek-e-Hurriyat district president Baramulla, Abdul Gani Bhat, in Kransksivan Colony of Sopore. They allegedly ransacked his house and took away with them various household items.
“SOG men raided our house three times and broke all the household items and took away some valuable items, including some jewellery, clothes and electronic gadgets. They also took wooden logs worth thousands of rupees from our compound,” Aisha Begum, wife of Abdul Gani Bhat, said.
Bhat is a senior Hurriyat member in Sopore who has been leading the protests in various parts of the town.
“They (police) raided my house just to break my resolve, but I will not budge from leading the peaceful protests. I am ready to give my life for the movement. I am happy that my property was scarified in the cause of Allah and the freedom of Kashmir,” Bhat said.
Superintendent of Police, Sopore, Harmeet Mehta said, “It is a baseless allegation of Bhat’s family. We don’t know anything about it and did not receive any complaint regarding it. If the family alleges so, they should file a complaint before police and we will investigate.”
Family members of another Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader, Muhammad Yousuf Falahi, alleged that government troops ransacked their house, smashing window glasses and household goods. The family members alleged that troops barged into their house late Tuesday night at Muloo village in Chitragam area in Shopian and beat the inmates. Locals alleged that the forces also damaged a power transformer by shooting bullets at it.
Intermittent clashes in the day, demonstrations and late-evening clashes were reported from several areas in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir. Clashes broke out between youths and government troops at Jogi Lankar area of Rainawari, where several people sustained injuries.
The district administration Bandipora booked seven youths from areas like Hajin, Markundal, Vipara, SK Bala, and Panzinara under the draconian Public Safety Act and shifted them to Kotbalwal jail in Jammu.
The booked youths were identified as Mohammad Mubarak Koul, son of Ghulam Mohammad Koul, a resident of Baharabad; Tariq Ahmad Lone, son of Abdul Majeed Lone, a resident of Vijpara; Tajamul Rasool Mir, son of Ghulam Rasool Mir, a resident SK Bala; Mohammad Ayoub Mir, son of Ali Mohammad Mir, a resident of Mir Mohallah Hajin; Bilal Ahmad Dar, son of Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar, resident of SK Bala; Gulzar Ahmad Rather, son of Mohammad Ramzan Rather, a resident of Khumina; and Imtiyaz Ahmad Malik, son of Abdul Sultan Malik, a resident of Panzinara. One among the booked, Gulzar Ahmad, is a member of Jama’at-e-Talba J&K.
A complete shutdown was observed across Chenab Valley on Wednesday against the civilian killings and arrests by government forces in Kashmir. At Kishtwar, all business establishments including schools remained closed while thin attendance was recorded in government offices. The call for shutdown was given by the Imam of Jamia Masjid Kishtwar Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, after a decision was taken by the Majlis-e-Shoora comprising various Imams of the masjids and leaders of religious organisations.
Scores of Muslims held a protest demonstration in Bhaderwah area following a call by Anjuman Islamia Bhadarwah to protest the “worst kinds of human rights violations” in Kashmir and attempts to “communalise the situation in Chenab Valley by the RSS.” The protest was held within the premises of Markazi Jamia Masjid.
“We followed the Hurriyat Conference solidarity call that decided to observe 21th September as solidarity day with Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley,” said the president of Anjuman Islamia Bhadarwah, Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh.
Protest demonstrations were also reported from Banihal areas where also a complete shutdown was observed.
According to a statement issued by the police, there was no curfew in the Valley except under areas of three police stations in Srinagar.
“Police arrested 43 individuals found involved in stopping/disrupting the traffic, damaging vehicles, public property and creating disruption in opening of shops,” the statement said.
In a separate statement, police headquarters Jammu said that the overall situation throughout Jammu zone remained normal.
“Following improvement in situation, the district administration Rajouri announced relaxation in curfew today from morning 700hrs till further orders,” the statement said.
-With inputs from Bilal Habib, Gowhar Maqbool, Mushtaq Ahmad and Majid Malik