Many injured, one youth critical, in clashes across south Kashmir; ambulances going to Srinagar stopped and sent back
Srinagar: The government thwarted with force the ‘Islamabad Chalo’ call given jointly by pro-freedom leaders to pay homage to the people killed by government forces during the past 16 days. Reports said that dozens of people sustained injuries in Bijbehara, Achabal Ashaji pora, Anchidora areas of Anantnag district when forces baton-charged and fired several rounds of teargas shells and pellet guns to prevent the people’s march towards Lal Chowk of Anantnag on Monday.
At least 30 persons received injuries near Zirpora Sicop road and Baba Mohallla when forces intercepted a protest march of people who came on more than hundred vehicles and were heading towards main chowk Anantnag, triggering clashes in the area.
The protesters, amid heavy sloganeering in favour of freedom of Kashmir, pelted forces with stones to protest the obstruction in their way to Anantnag.
Chief medical officer of Anantnag hospital Fazil Kochak told Kashmir Reader that six people with injuries were admitted to the hospital on Monday.
“Among the six injured admitted here, one youth who has received pellet injuries in eye is critical and has been referred to Srinagar,” Kochak said.
Reports said that hundreds of people who came from different areas of Anantnag district defied curfew and assembled near Laizbal area of Anantnag district on Monday afternoon. Witnesses said that forces fired several rounds of teargas and pellet gun fires when protesters were holding sit-in protests near the area. About a dozen people sustained injuries.
Heavy clashes were also reported from Pakharpora, Tahab, Koil, Ruhmoo, Malangpora and Lajoora areas of Pulwama district. Reports said that defying curfew and restrictions, people held demonstrations and hurled stones at forces deployed in the areas. The forces, in reply, fired teargas shells and pellet guns to scatter the protesters.
Locals from Pulwama said that the women, who carried out a protest march against the civilian killings, were also attacked by heavy teargas shelling by the government forces.
More than a dozen people are reported to have been injured in clashes that erupted at Kulgam Chowk and Hospital Road areas of Kulgam district.
Sources said that forces at several places in south Kashmir stopped ambulances that were ferrying injured and ill patients from south Kashmir districts to Srinagar. The troops sent the ambulances back to where they had come from.
Witnesses said that people from Bijbehara, Tral, Duchnipora, Kanilwan, Aang, Matipora, Srigufwara and Nanil areas of south Kashmir defied the curfew to march towards Anantnag, but a heavy deployment of forces sealed off all the routes. This triggered clashes with the forces in these areas.
Reports said that heavy restrictions were imposed by the government in all the sensitive spots in south Kashmir to prevent people from assembling in Anantnag’s Lal Chowk.
Sources said that additional contingents of police and para-military forces were rushed to the district to thwart the ‘Islamabad Chalo’ call given by the joint pro-freedom leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.
Reports also said that a few local journalists were abused and harassed by the forces after they were heading towards Anantnag to carry out their routine work.
“The forces stopped us and abused us as soon as we reached Laizbal area of Islamabad town. They threatened to kill us if we did not leave the area,” a photojournalist said.
He said that forces barred the journalists from covering the protests that were going on in the main town and asked them to leave the area.
Fierce clashes also erupted in several areas of Srinagar. In Safa Kadal, Bemina, Shamaswari, Batamaloo, Fateh Kadal, Tengpora and some areas in the old city, youths clashed with forces and hurled stones at them.
The forces answered the protests with heavy teargas shelling. Reports said that few youths have sustained injuries during the clashes.
The locals of Chattabal area of Srinagar alleged that the “forces created a terror-like situation in the area and not allowed locals to offer prayers in the local mosques.”
Meanwhile, police arrested both the heads of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, after they tried to march towards Anantnag to pay homage to civilians killed by government forces.
Sources said that as soon as Geelani and Mirwaiz came out of their residence, a police party arrested both of them. Geelani has been lodged at Humhama police station while Mirwaiz has been taken to Nigeen police station.
A media report said that a protest march in Tamil Nadu was carried out by the Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) at Nellai Puliangudi in south Tamil Nadu against the “bloodshed of innocent people in Kashmir.”
The report said that Advocate Zainul Abideen led the march and hundreds of people raising slogans against the Government of India and “brutality’ in Kashmir participated.
Reports of protests against the Indian forces also came from Sydney, Australia, where people carrying banners that asked India to “stop the bloodshed in Kashmir” gathered to protest.
The e-curfew remained imposed across Kashmir, with mobile internet and phone services still suspended. People have been decrying the communication crackdown imposed by the administration since the next day of Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8.
A police handout released in Srinagar said, “The situation throughout the Kashmir valley remained peaceful and under control on Monday.”
“There was no curfew in most of the towns/areas of Kashmir valley although curfew remained imposed in twelve police stations of Srinagar and towns of Awantipora, Kulgam, Baramulla, Pattan and Anantnag.”
The police said that the Karwan-i-Aman bus service from Srinagar to Muzzafarabad resumed on Monday with 73 passengers leaving Srinagar in morning and reaching Kaman post in Uri safely.
“There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley although some stray stone pelting incidents were reported from some places,” the police statement said.