Srinagar: Widespread protests matched in intensity by the anti-India uprising of the year 2010 marked the second day of the killing of popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani across the Valley on Saturday.
Besides protests, funeral prayers were offered for the slain commander and two of his associates in the majority of towns and major habitations in the Valley.
Government forces put down the protests with ruthless force, killing 11 and inflicting bullet wounds on 70 others. More than 250 people were injured due to pellet ammunition and teargas canisters fired by the government forces. Some of the injured are critical. Scores of people were also beaten up. Police said about 90 policemen and troopers were injured in the clashes with protesters.
Government forces beat up attendants and patients at Pampore sub-district hospital. Witnesses present at the hospital said that the forces not only damaged the vehicles of the attendants but also used them as shields against the protesters throwing stones.
One of the witnesses said the forces barged into the sub-district hospital and misbehaved with doctors as well. CRPF troopers damaged a few ambulances that were carrying the injured to different hospitals.
Witnesses said one Azad Ahmad Thukroo, an injured who was brought to the hospital with bullet injuries to his leg, was killed by government forces after they inserted a rod into his wound.
At least 100 people were injured in the slain commander’s hometown Tral after government forces fired pellet ammunition and teargas canisters protesting the death of the commander.
About 50 of them were directed to sub-district hospital Pampore where they were being treated.
Funeral prayers were offered for Burhan across Srinagar city, where mourners blocked roads with barricades and burnt tyres to prevent movement of forces.
Defying curfew, protesters took to streets early Saturday morning and started raising pro-freedom, anti-India slogans and slogans praising the martyrdom of Wani in Lal Bazar, Tengpora, Bemina, Batamaloo, Soura ,Kaka Sarai, Dalgate, Shivpora and dozens of other places.
In Bemina, protesters partially dismantled a bunker used by the forces on Byepass crossing.
At Zampa Kadal, Chattabal, police and CRPF troopers went berserk and beat up men and women ruthlessly before snatching the body of one of the civilians killed in Kulgam. The local residents had brought the civilian’s body to Zampa Kadal for offering funeral prayers. However, the forces crashed into the locality, fired dozens of teargas shells and beat up people before bundling the body into a police vehicle.
Witnesses said protests were held for the first time after the 2010 uprisings in some places like Shivpora and Lal Bazar.
“Such was the intensity of sentiments that we held protests right under the nose of the Badami Bagh cantonment for the first time in many years,” said a protester from Shivpora.
An attendant of a patient at the SMHS Hospital told Kashmir Reader that as the injured kept arriving, people shouted pro-freedom slogans inside the hospital, which irked the policemen stationed outside.
“They were certainly frustrated and entered the hospital,” said a volunteer helping patients. They left only after requests by patients and attendants.
Funeral prayers followed by protests were held in other districts of the Valley. In Anantnag, protesters attacked police post Lal Pura, injuring more than 10 policemen, including the SHO. A civilian was also injured after being hit by a tear gas shell.
In Sopore, protesters clashed with government forces at Main Chowk, Iqbal Market, Batpora, Arampora and other places. A youth named Salik Ahmed suffered grievous pellet injuries in his face.
In Baramulla district’s Pattan, Palhallan, Rafiabad, Sangrama, Sheeri, Fategarh and dozens of other places, people took to streets from early morning and blocked the highway at various places.
In Fatehgrah, people took out a rally and marched for nearly 2kms before stopping at Sheeri where they offered prayers for the trio killed in Kokernag.
At Pattan, a police post was attacked, injuring about 12 people. A police vehicle was attacked by protesters at the Cement Bridge. A complete shutdown was observed in Uri, Boniyar, Rohama, Kunzer, Wagoora and tourist destinations like Gulmarg and Tangmarg as well.
At Bandipora, hundreds of protesters marched towards the martyrs’ graveyard where they offered special prayers and funeral in absentia for Burhan Wani. On their way back, they overran a BSF bunker and set it ablaze. BSF troopers fired in air to disperse the protesters. Protesters clashed with police throughout the day. Protests were also held at Charari Shareef.
Meanwhile, media reports said extra troops are being rushed to Kashmir Valley in Air India flights this evening.