Srinagar: Demonstrations were held in several parts of the valley on Friday against ‘granting’ domicile’ status to West Pakistan Refugees, a move the resistance leadership considers inimical to the interests of the majority Muslim community in the state.
The joint resistance leadership had asked the people to protest against issuing of domicile certificates to WPRs and a law (SARFAESI) that allows outside banks to seize properties and sell them to the highest bidder who can be a non-state subject. The law is seen as one more attempt to gnaw at the already eroded autonomy of the state.
A demonstration in this regard was held Nowhatta, where people shouted slogans against the state and demanded a halt on issuing domicile certificates to WPRs.
The state government has maintained that ‘identity certificates’ not ‘domicile certificates’ have been issued to the WPRs.
The demonstrators were also demanding release of all the political prisoners, including the local youths arrested over alleged stone-pelting.
The youth were also carrying posters mentioning the names of local youths who had been arrested by police during the past more than five months and were demanding their immediate release.
After being stopped by the forces, the peaceful demonstration morphed into a clash between the protesters and the forces. Teargas and slingshots were used by the police and paramilitary troopers to disperse the protesters.
Several people offering prayers inside Jamia Masjid who remained trapped for several minutes because of the clashes faced severe discomfort because of teargas.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest and was not allowed to lead Friday prayers at mosque.
Intense clashes erupted between youths and government forces at Batamaloo area of Srinagar after Friday congregational prayers were over in local mosques.
Amid complete shutdown in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, youth held demonstrations and clashed with forces near Jamia Masjid road following the Friday prayers.
Witnesses said that soon after the Friday prayers, locals mainly youth assembled outside Jamia Masjid and amid heavy sloganeering, hurled rocks at the forces. They said that police and paramilitary troops retaliated with tear smoke shells and chilli grenades to disperse the protesters.
Following Friday prayers at Khankah Faiz Panah in south Kashmir’s Tral town, people staged a protest demonstration against the government move to issue domicile certificates. Youth later hurled stones at forces deployment while as, later responded by firing teargas shells to scatter them.
Protest rallies were also taken out in Quimoo area of Kulgam district. Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in all the major and small townships of south Kashmir in response to the shutdown call given by the joint resistance leadership.
Activists of JKLF organized a protest demonstration at Abiguzar, demanding immediate rollback of the government order. A similar protest demonstration was held by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat in Hyderpora area of Srinagar.
A Hurriyat (G) spokesman said police and paramilitary forces used PAVA and teargas shells near the residence of Syed Ali Geelani in Hyderpora.
“The excessive and unnecessary use of dreaded gas caused immense problems for ailing residents of locality and Syed Ali Geelani also complained of chest congestion and severe pain due to continuous coughing,” a Hurriyat (G) spokesman said in a statement.
“Condemning the puppet regime for their inhuman approach, spokesman said that yes-men of Delhi are using the hazardous gases against common masses and they feel no shame for their devilish deeds,” the statement read. (With Inputs From BILAL HABIB )