Police say 73 people arrested in 24 hours; 8 injured during clashes admitted to SMHS Hospital
Srinagar: Following the call by pro-freedom leadership who had asked people to hold a ‘One-day Azadi Convention’, restrictions were imposed at several places across the Valley on Thursday.
Police and para-military forces were deployed in large numbers and concertina wires were laid at sensitive spots to prevent people from holding demonstrations.
Still, demonstrations and clashed occurred at a few places where youths pelted forces with stones and came under heavy tear smoke shelling and pellet firing that left a few persons injured.
Clashes broke out between youth and government forces at Bandipora town after youth hurled stones at the cavalcade of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir that passed through the area.
The forces swung into action and lobbed tear smoke canisters, pepper grenades and pellets to scatter the protesters. Some of the protesters were hurt in police action.
Witnesses said that youths also thrashed a few who had participated in the ongoing army recruitment rally at Bandipora. A youth was injured.
In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, clashes erupted at Narbal and a few other areas in the afternoon. Six people were injured during the clashes.
Youths hurled stones at the forces who fired tear smoke canisters and pellets to disperse the stone-throwing youths. The clashes lasted for several hours.
Minor clashes were reported from Kawoosa, Kanihama and Mazhama areas of the district where people held demonstrations against police and paramilitary forces who allegedly damaged electric transformers and other private property a few days ago.
Medical superintendent SMHS hospital Dr. Nazir Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that eight people injured during the clashes have been admitted to the hospital on Thursday.
Protests were held in Karimabad area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district after soldiers destroyed more than 400 apple boxes stacked on the roadside by a farmer and that were to be loaded onto a truck.
“The army men destroyed all these boxes though the area was peaceful and there was no stone-pelting or pro-freedom protest,” the owner, Ghulam Qadir Pandit, told a local news agency.
The furious youths later assembled in the area and raised slogans against the army and government. They alleged that army has unleashed a reign of terror in the locality since the agitation erupted in the Valley on July 8.
Police arrested Bashir Kashmiri, a district president Srinagar of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and lodged to him in police lockup.
Mild clashes, protests and late night clashes erupted at several areas of Srinagar including old city where youths hurled stones at the forces while as, later lobbed shots of pellets and teargas shells to disperse them.
The students of Government Degree College (GDC) Bhaderwah took out a protest march against the civilian killings and continuous human rights violations, especially against minors and teenagers, in Kashmir.
The students, including girls of PG College Bhaderwah, gathered at the main gate with placards reading “Stop innocent Killings in Kashmir”.
They were raising slogans against the human rights violators, who according to them were on a killing spree of innocents in Kashmir.
“Our protest is against all those who kill or wound innocent civilians especially minors,” said a protesting student Usman Bhatt.
“We are not able to understand as to why children who are just 8 or 10 years old are being killed or wounded. We are unable to understand as what these violators of human rights are going to get from all this.” he said.
According to a statement issued police, the situation across the valley remained by and large peaceful on Thursday. “There was no untoward incident reported from any part of the valley,” it said.
According to the statement, during the day a large number of vehicles were seen plying on city roads as well main towns and on the inter-district roads.
“During the past 24 hours, police arrested 73 such individuals who were involved in causing disturbances by harassing shopkeepers, creating disruptions in traffic movement by placing obstructions on roads and lanes, besides involved in damaging public/private property in different parts of the valley,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, another statement by police said that the situation in the Jammu region remained by and large peaceful. “District Administration Jammu announced relaxation in curfew from today 700 hours to 1900 hours in the Kishtwar town,” it said.
—With inputs from Bilal Habib, Owais Farooqi and Ishfaq Reshi