Boys forced to spend nights away from homes; people protest in mosques
Sopore: Scores of young boys were picked up by the government forces in nocturnal raids in various localities of Sopore, triggering pro-freedom protests.
The raids were carried out during the last 48 hours. The people responded to the government action by staging massive protests, which included raising pro-freedom slogans on loudspeakers of the mosques.
A resident of Sopore town told Kashmir Reader that the government forces raided his house to look for his son.
“My son was not home. They roughed me up and tried to arrest me, but the strong resistance put up by the locals forced the police to flee. I received four stitches in my foot,” the resident said, requesting anonymity.
The fear of arrest has forced most boys of the town to spend nights away from their homes.
“To save boys from being arrested during these nocturnal raids, most residents of the main town have been protesting at night in the local mosques. As government forces continue to raid the residential localities, we make announcement on loudspeakers for the people to defend themselves,” a protestor said.
Due to suspended phone service and curfew, Kashmir Reader was not able to contact police for its version of the raids.
Meanwhile, Sopore observed a complete shutdown for the 10th consecutive day on Tuesday. All business establishment and shops in the town remained closed, while public transport was also unavailable.
Police and army have erected barricades and spread concertina wire at multiple points in the town to restrict vehicular and pedestrian movement.
Media persons were also not allowed to cover protests going on in the main town on Tuesday.
In protests following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, at least 100 protesters got injured in forces’ action.
“Over 100 boys with pellet and other injuries were brought to the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) in the last 10 days. Of them, 30 critical ones were referred to Srinagar. Many protesters have injuries in the upper half of the body, while the pellets and teargas shells have caused serious eye injuries,” block medical officer, Sopore, Dr Sami, said.
The clashes have taken place mostly at Batpora, Super Bazar, Aram Pora, Mahraj Pora, and Down Town areas of Sopore.
Amidst restrictions, the locals are voluntarily helping the patients and attendants, particularly from the far-off areas, at the SDH.
The restrictions imposed by the state have caused a shortage of essentials in the town. Even the baby food for infants is not available, the residents said, adding that most ATMs in the town have either dried out or turned defunct.
The town continued to face communication breakdown as the BSNL service—the only telephone network allowed to operate by the state—has stopped working once again.
The officials contacted by this correspondent said the outage was result of an optical fiber malfunction.