Phone services snapped across Kashmir ahead of Friday’s shutdown call; CRPF men damage BSNL building
Srinagar: Clashes with government forces and numerous protests took place amid a complete shutdown observed across Kashmir on Thursday, while a youth from Kulgam died at the SKIMS hospital due to injuries sustained in clashes with government forces three days ago. Newspapers on Thursday reported a death toll of 40 in the Valley based on a new list of civilian deaths.
The deceased youth has been identified as Irfan Ahmad Dar of Damhal Hanjipora of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The news of his death triggered fierce clashes between government forces and the people in Qoimoh area of district Kulgam. Angry youth attacked the Qoimoh police station where forces retaliated with bullet and pellet firing, injuring six youths.
Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Soura, Farooq Jan told Kashmir Reader that the youth was admitted to the hospital on Monday.
“The youth was beaten up by forces during a protest on Monday and was admitted here. He succumbed today,” Jan said.
Reacting to reports of the hospital “deliberately delaying” the deaths of the injured by putting them on ventilator, Jan said that they were untrue. “It’s a rumour and there is no truth to it,” he said.
Earlier, in view of the shutdown call given jointly by the pro-freedom leadership, protests and clashes erupted at several areas. People held protests and clashed with forces in the border district of Kupwara in areas of the main town, Tikker, Raggipora, Dadwan, Kralpora, Chekii Hadmullah, Trehgam, Langate, Lalpora and Darzipora, where protesters threw stones and raised anti-India, anti-government and pro-freedom slogans.
Protesters also hoisted Pakistani flags and raised pro-Burhan slogans while the forces retaliated with heavy teargas and pellet gun firing to disperse the protesters. Several protesters sustained minor injuries.
Clashes and peaceful protests were reported from several areas of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, including Hajin, Nusoo, Papchan and Kaloosa, where people raised anti- India and freedom slogans and protested the killings of unarmed civilians.
Reports said that amid a complete shutdown in the district, pro-freedom slogans were played from loudspeakers of many mosques.
Amid strict restrictions and deployment of forces by the administration, incidents of clashes and protests were reported from Pulwama, Baramulla, Islamabad, Shopian, Budgam and Kulgam districts where, at several places, people pelted government forces with stones and held demonstrations against the PDP-BJP government.
Clashes broke out at Cement Bridge Baramulla, Batargam, Botengu Sopore, and Palhalan. Reports said that at Kralpora in Kupwara, shortly after the clashes, CRPF men caused damage to the BSNL Exchange building.
At least two people were injured and three were detained after anti-insurgency SOG of police intercepted a protest march in Taapar area of Pattan in Baramulla district. The police fired several rounds of aerial shots and pellets at unarmed protesters.
Reports said that a complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama and Burhan’s hometown Tral, where government imposed strict curfew to prevent people from carrying out protests marches. Stone-pelting incidents were also reported from main Sopore chowk were youth clashed with forces deployed in the town.
Curfew-like situation was reported from Anantnag district where most of the civilian killings have occurred in the past six days.
In Srinagar, stone-pelting incidents were reported from Batamaloo, Chanapora, Kathi Darwaza, Habba Kadal, Kani Kadal, Nowgam, Nowpora Mehjoor Nagar, and downtown areas. Police resorted to heavy tear-smoke shelling and pellet firing to disperse protesters. Reports said that troops allegedly thrashed people after which a large number of people took to streets chanting freedom slogans. The angry protesters attacked forces with stones while they retaliated with tear-smoke shelling and pellet firing causing injuries to at least 7 persons, including a woman and a kid.
In the old city, youth carried out a torch procession in the late evening from Nowhatta to Zaldagar in which hundreds of youth participated. The procession was intercepted at Zaldagar by forces, which led to clashes with them.
One person with pellet injuries whom locals identified as Noor Muhamam Ningli was admitted to SKIMS for treatment. Heavy clashes were going on in several areas of Srinagar when this report was being filed.
A police statement issued late evening said that the overall situation in the Valley remained under control though some incidents of stone-pelting were reported.
“Some stray and intermittent incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Qaimo Kulgam, Khudwani, Trehgam, Lalpora, Battergam, Kupwara, Hyhama, Hatmulla, Warpora, Sopore, Arampora, Cement Bridge, Baramulla, Palhalan, Suzaith, Parimpora, Narbal, Chinkral Mohalla and Habba Kadal. A mob set on fire a residential house in Bamdoora, Kokernag,” the statement said.
In view of the protest call given by the pro-freedom camp on Friday, phone services have been snapped across Kashmir.
(With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad from Baramulla, Bilal Habib from Pulwama, Asim Shah from Sopore, Firdous-ul-Islam from Kupwara, Owais Farooqi from Bandipora)