Hours after Mehbooba urged forces to exercise restraint, six people shot dead; cop drowns after crowd pushes his vehicle into Jhelum; scores suffer pellet, bullet injuries; 18 youths on verge of losing eyesight
Srinagar: Five more people who had been shot at during protests on Saturday succumbed to their injuries overnight and five people were shot dead during fresh protests in south Kashmir districts on Sunday, taking the toll of dead civilians to 23.
A policeman also was reportedly killed after the car in which he travelling was pushed into the Jhelum by a group of protesters at Sangam, Anantnag.
Army, police and CRPF troopers used ruthless force to quell the protests that erupted across the Valley after the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani and two of his associates in Kokernag on Friday, killing 12 people and injuring as many as 300 on Saturday.
Five of the injured succumbed last night at the SMHS Hospital, said superintendent Dr Nazir Choudhary.
Those who were killed on Sunday are Irfan Ahmad Malik of Newa; Gulzar Ahmad Pandit of Mohanpora Shopian Fayaz Ahmad Waza of Litter, Pulwama; Shabir Ahmad Mir of Tengpora and Asif Ahmad Bhat of Shopian; Yasmeena of DH Pora, Kulgam.
Dr Choudhary said about 35 persons who had suffered pellet and bullet wounds were brought to the hospital on Sunday. As many as 88 injured were admitted to the hospital on Saturday. Six of the injured are critical, he added.
Principal Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals Dr Kaisar Ahmad said the majority of the injured had been hit with bullets and pellets above the waist.
Government forces fired at protesters in Peer Takiya and Hillad villages of Kokernag, Mattan and Dooru areas in Anantnag district and Kelam in, Kulgam district, injuring about 32 people, three of them critically.
A policeman was killed after a group of protesters pushed his vehicle into the Jhelum at Sangam in Anantnag district.
Such was the rush of the injured that SMHS Hospital authorities cancelled routine surgeries and procedures and asked doctors on leave to report to work. Dr Choudhary said that 130 injured are being treated at the hospital for pellet and bullet injuries.
Both SMHS Hospital and SKIMS, Soura, witnessed chaotic scenes. Because of the commotion, the names and other details of the injured could not be ascertained from their attendants who, at the same time, were apprehensive of sharing such details because of reprisals from police.
At many places, troopers beat up the injured while they were being ferried to hospitals.
Because of curbs, poor mobile services and reluctance of officials to talk, the events in the Valley could not be covered by this newspaper in entirety.
As many as 45 of the injured admitted to the SMHS on Saturday have pellet injuries in the eyes. Dr Choudhary said that 18 of them have been operated upon for serious eye injuries. A doctor said these 18 people might not regain their eyesight.
The use of force, which chief minister Mehbooba Mufti yesterday admitted was disproportionate, was meant to contain pro-Burhan protests and prevent them from becoming a mass movement like the ones in 2008 and 2010. The protests were the most intense in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian districts.
The curbs on peaceful funeral processions led angry protesters to defy curfew and attack police installations, a government office and a lawmaker’s house. The nature of bullet injuries shows that the forces fired to kill, not to incapacitate.
Curfew continued in most parts of the Valley on Sunday and the rest of the areas observed a complete shutdown in response to the strike call given by pro-freedom leaders.
Youths clashed with government forces in dozens of places in Srinagar and other districts on Sunday. Roads were littered with stones and burnt tyres and wood in various parts of old Srinagar. Pro-freedom songs were relayed via mosque loudspeakers in many areas.
Police had been deployed in and around SHMS Hospital. Attendants complain of harassment by cops and policemen in civvies allegedly created hurdles in the work of journalists who were trying to talk to the injured.
Government forces reportedly attacked a hospital at Lalpora Lolab in Kupwara. The area had seen massive protests over the killing of Burhan Wani.
Protesters clashed with CRPF troopers at Kha Bazar in Anantnag and stomped their feet, saying “ragdo ragdo bharat ragdo, stamp out India” when army vehicles passed by. Several protesters suffered pellet and bullet injuries, including a 12-year-old boy.
Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that police and SOG personnel fired hundreds of rounds in air and smashed windowpanes of several residential structures in the area. They said that the forces ‘terrorised’ the whole population of the locality. The forces injured four local youths who received serious pellet injuries and were shifted to nearby hospital in bleeding condition. Two among the four injured were in critical condition till last report came. Eyes of one the injured were damaged by pellet ammunition.
In Sopore town, 13-year old boy Danish Ahmad was critically injured after he was shot in head with bullet by forces even though his family members said that he was quite away from the site of clashes. He is currently undergoing a treatment at SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
Block Medical Officer Sopore told Kashmir Reader that 12 persons were injured during clashes and one among them who was critical has been referred to Srinagar.
Fierce clashes also broke out in Burhan’s hometown Tral, where youths clashed with forces for the whole day. Reportedly a dozen protesters received pellet injuries, and two of them might lose eyesight, their relatives told Kashmir Reader.
Several areas of Pulwama district including, Kakapora, Pampore, Lassipora, Hall, Tahab, Litter, main town Pulwama, Tanchibagh, Nowpora and other adjoining areas, witnessed heavy clashes between forces and people in which more than 50 people mourning the death of Burhan and his two associates, were injured, five of them critically.
A man attending to Sameer Ahmad, who is being treated at SKIMS Soura for bullet wounds, told Kashmir Reader that forces fired indiscriminately on unarmed people at Pampore in the morning and injured dozens of people there. Two of them received bullet injuries in head and chest.
A youth from Parimpora was admitted to SMHS Hospital after suffering bullet injury.
In Srinagar, clashes were erupted in several areas including, Sabzi market Soura, Khanyar, Batamaloo, Bemina Nowgam, Tengpora, Kaka Sarai, Chattabal, Nawab Bazar and other areas in old city where, including a teenager from Khanyar who has been hit in eye, around 25 youths received minor to major injuries.
The residents in Chattabal area alleged that forces smashed the windowpanes of many residential houses when the locals were having day’s meal. The protestors in Mehjoor Nagar area torched a CRPF bunker with forces retaliating with teargas and baton-charging to disperse the people.
Hajin area of Bandipora district also erupted against Burhan and his associate’s killing where mosques loudspeakers’ reverberated with pro-freedom slogans.
The areas like Newa, main town Shopian, Rajpora, Damhal, Sangam, Zainapora, Qoimoh, Yaripora, Behibagh, Vailoo, Tikipora Sogam, Lalpora Kupwara, Kanyal Bagh Baramulla, Armpora Sopore, Tarzoo, Mirgund, and Sheikpora, in South Kashmir’s Baramulla, Islamabad, Shopian, Budgam and Kupwara districts witnessed intense clashes between forces and people.
The protesters defied curfew imposed by the government and clashed with police and Para-military forces deployed to thwart any protest by the people. As per the reports more than 100 people, including two youths in Nassrullahpur and Soibugh areas of Budgam district where one is in critical condition, were injured during the clashes. About a dozen are critically injured, reports said.
As many as 50 youngsters were detained by the police in Budgam town.
The people also held absentia funerals for slain Burhan Wani and his two associates at Qalamabad, Mawar in Handwara.
Reports reaching Kashmir Reader said that around 4 persons were arrested by police in Nowpora area of Bandipora after which people marched towards Police Station Bandipora demanding the release of arrested youth.
The driver of an ambulance bus carrying three injured youth from Pulwama to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital told Kashmir Reader that Government forces intercepted them at several places and few of them even shouted to youth boarding the ambulance “Come down and we will bury you people here”.
With inputs from Asim, Mushtaq, Bilal and Owais from Sopore, Baramulla, Pulwama and Bandipora
(With inputs from Saqib Mugloo)