Protests, clashes continue in Anantnag

ANANTNAG: Anger still rages in this southern district over the murder of Zahid Ahmad Bhat of Batengoo, by a Hindu mob in Udhampur on October 9, as the shutdown and fierce clashes continued in most townships of the district even on Wednesday.
Strict restrictions were imposed by authorities in Anantnag township, with contingents of police and paramilitary forces deployed in the streets to scuttle any protests. However, youths in many areas including Laizbal, Anchidora, Khanabal and SK colony hit the streets and pelted stones on government forces, who resorted to heavy tear gas shelling.
Locals alleged that CRPF men, after failing to chase away the protestors, went on a rampage in SK colony, smashing the window panes of dozens of houses.
In the chief minister’s home town of Bijbehara too, fierce clashes between government forces and youths continued. The forces fired pellet ammunition and tear gas shells to disperse the protestors. A youth, identified as Nasir Ahmad Dar of Zirpora, was critically wounded after being hit by a tear gas shell fired by the CRPF. He was taken to sub-district hospital Bijbehara, from where doctors referred him to SKIMS, Srinagar, given the severity of his injuries.
“The youth has been operated upon and has been put under observation in the intensive care unit. He is now out of danger,” an official said. But, as soon as news about the youth being injured in CRPF action spread in the town, clashes spread to other localities during which several others suffered minor injuries.
Locals alleged the CRPF men smashed the windows panes of houses in Ganai Mohammad, Sadar Bazar and Goriwan after the protesting youths didn’t disperse.
In Srinagar, reports said that the police had detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik outside SKIMS, when he had gone to the hospital for a check-up and to meet Nasir, the injured youth.
Batengoo, Zahid’s native village, however, remained relatively calm during the day. However, in the evening, according to witnesses, groups of youths again started pelting stones on the forces. The latter used tear gas shells to quell the protests.
In Mattan township too, CRPF men, locals alleged, smashed the window panes of several houses while moving back to their stations in the evening. A complete shutdown was also observed in the neighboring district of Kulgam, and Quimoo and Khudwani on Wednesday as well. However, there were no reports of any clashes from the district.