Govt stops ‘Kulgam Chalo’ with curfew

Marches foiled, clashes result; police on arrest spree in Baramulla, homes raided at night to pick up youth on charges of stone-pelting

Srinagar: Strict curfew and restrictions were imposed by the government on Wednesday across Kashmir to foil the ‘Kulgam Chalo’ march called jointly by the pro-freedom leaders of Kashmir. The march was called to pay tributes to the people killed by the government forces in the ongoing anti-India uprising.
In Srinagar, clashes erupted in several areas of old city after forces stopped people who tried to march towards the south Kashmir district of Kulgam. The youth pelted forces with stones and the forces retaliated with teargas and pellet-gun firing.
Sources said that heavy contingent of forces were deployed by the administration at many spots across the Valley to thwart any movement of people towards Kulgam.
Reports said that defying restrictions, youth in Batamaloo, Chattabal, Kaka Sarai, Darish Kadal and Nawab Bazar areas of Srinagar, raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, held demonstrations and tried to march towards Kulgam.
The public address system of mosques across the Valley reverberated with pro-freedom songs throughout the day on Wednesday.
In Kulgam district, demonstrations were held by people in areas of Kulgam town, Chawalgam, Gori Mohalla, Nowpora, Hospital Road, Khudwani, Srisal Yaripora, Buchpora, Mohanpora and Rampora. The people chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans while trying to march towards main Kulgam town. The forces intercepted the marches and this triggered clashes in these areas. Angry youths hurled stones at the forces while teargas shells were fired by the forces at them.
Demonstrations were also held in several areas of Anantnag district, including Lal Chowk, Malakhnag, Cheeni Chowk and main town Anantnag, where youths in the evening came out on roads and protested against the restrictions.
Stone-pelting incidents were also reported from few areas of Pulwama district where amid tight restrictions, people hurled stones at troops.
Report said that clashes erupted in Nagbal area of Shopian district where youths pelted forces with stones and shouted slogans in favour of freedom of Kashmir. Peaceful protests were reported from Chitragam, Urpora, Imam Sahib, Pahnoo, Pinjoora, Tehlipora and Trenz areas of Shopian district.
The joint resistance group led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had called for Kulgam Chalo on Wednesday to pay tributes to the persons who had lost their lives in the protests following Burhan Wani’s killing.
The police arrested chiefs of both the Hurriyat factions when they tried to defy the curfew and march towards Kulgam.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Geelani was arrested by police at New Airport Road outside his Humhama residence. He was taken to police station Humhama.
Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was taken to Nigeen police station when defying restrictions he tried to leave for Kulgam.
Reports said that the police have started an arrest spree in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district by arresting dozens of youth on the pretext of their involvement in stone-pelting incidents.
Four youths along with a doctor, Dr Shabir, are reported to have been arrested by the police in Fatehgrah area of district Baramulla during night raids on Tuesday. “Several youths have abandoned their houses fearing arrest by the police,” a local said.
Tight restrictions were imposed by the administration in Baramulla district to block the movement of civilians to Kulgam. Minor clashes at few places were reported from the district.
A press statement issued here on Wednesday by the police said that the situation throughout the Kashmir valley remained peaceful and under control.
“There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley. Apart from police stations of old city Srinagar (Maharaj Gunj, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar and Rainawari), Kulgam and Anantnag town, there were no restrictions anywhere in the Kashmir valley,” the statement said.
Post-paid mobile services have been restored across the Kashmir. Pre-paid phone services and mobile internet continues to remain suspended in the Valley.