At Anantnag’s Lal Chowk, policemen beaten, chased, Rakshak jeep set ablaze
Anantnag: Six policemen, two of them officers, were among ten people injured in Friday afternoon clashes in main town Anantnag, soon after police used force to quell peaceful “pro-Rohingya” protests.
The protestors also torched a Rakshak police vehicle after policemen, chased by protestors, abandoned it.
According to reports, a protest rally against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was taken out from the Jamia Ahl-i-Hadees in Sherbagh area towards the town centre, Lal Chowk.
“When the protestors, carrying placards condemning violence against Rohingyas, reached Lal Chowk, they were confronted by the government forces stationed there,” local sources told Kashmir Reader.
They said that the government forces began a baton charge without any provocation and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the rally.
The protestors retaliated with stone-throwing and chased the policemen, who fled to save their lives.
Eyewitnesses said that the protestors caught hold of several policemen and ruthlessly beat them, leaving them bruised and injured.
“Many policemen were saved from the wrath of the protestors by shopkeepers in Lal Chowk area,” sources said, adding that the ones caught by the protestors were freed only because of efforts made by the local shopkeepers.
Some other policemen were injured in the stone-throwing.
“Six policemen and four civilians were injured in the stone-throwing,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader, adding that all the injured were stable and had been discharged from hospital after receiving first-aid.
He identified the injured policemen as DSP Headquarters Muhammad Yousuf, Sub-Inspector Syed Junaid, Head Constable Gurdeep Singh, Constable Shabir Ahmad, Constable Bilal Ahmad and Constable Javaid Ahmad.
During the clashes, a group of policemen chased by the protestors abandoned their vehicle outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
“The protestors hurled stones at the vehicle and then set it ablaze, when they realized it was empty. It took policemen a while to douse the fire,” an eyewitness said.
The clashes continued for a while, causing a complete shutdown in Lal Chowk, Reshi Bazar and Mattan Chowk areas of the old town.
Police said that a mob of “miscreants” had set a police vehicle ablaze.
“The miscreants were chased off using mild force,” a police statement read.
Pro-Rohingya protests were also reported from main town Kulgam, Kokernag, main town Pulwama, Tral, Pampore, Arwini and several other areas of south Kashmir.
All the protest rallies ended peacefully without any incident of violence.
Protestors in Pulwama were also seen carrying banners demanding freedom for incarcerated local photojournalist, Kamran Yousuf.
Kamran has been detained by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) for his alleged involvement in stone-pelting.