Srinagar: Amid a complete shutdown observed across Kashmir, fierce clashes erupted between youths and government forces in numerous places on Thursday. In Srinagar, 21 injured, mostly by pellets, were admitted to SMHS hospital on Thursday.
Youths in several areas of Srinagar city raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans and clashed with forces deployed in their areas.
Scores of youths assembled at Nowhatta chowk in the afternoon and carried out a protest march towards Lal Chowk. The march went through several areas of old city shouting slogans in favour of freedom.
Reports said that as soon as the procession reached Babademb Khanyar, a heavy deployment of forces intercepted the march and attacked them with teargas shells. Reports said that youths asked troopers to let them march peacefully towards Lal Chowk but this demand was denied, triggering clashes in the area.
Witnesses said that forces resorted to heavy teargas and pellet gun firing to disperse the protesters. The youths, in reply, hurled stones.
At least twelve persons were reportedly injured, mostly by pellets, after clashes erupted in Batamaloo. The injured have been shifted to SMHS hospital. Earlier, youths held demonstrations against the killings by the government forces.
At least ten persons were injured after clashes erupted in Hyderpora area where people held demonstrations and clashed with the forces deployed there. The forces retaliated with heavy teargas and pellet gun firing.
Medical superintendent of SMHS, Dr Nazir Choudhary told Kashmir Reader that 22 injured were admitted to the hospital on Thursday. “Most of them have pellet injuries. No one is critical,” Choudhary said.
Earlier in the morning, the government declared that curfew had been lifted from Srinagar and six other districts where, it said, “no untoward incident has been reported for the last few days.” However, reports said that heavy restrictions were imposed by the administration to prevent youths from holding protest demonstrations in all districts.
Clashes were reported from several areas of Srinagar, including Safakadal, Cement bridge, Qamarwari, Noorbagh, Nowhatta, Nawab Bazar, Nawa Kadal, Sabzi Market Soura, 90 feet road, Kawadara, Galwanpora, Hyderpora, Khanyar, Kathidarwaza, Saida Kadal, Gurduwara Chowk Rainawari, Rajouri Kadal, Chattabal and other adjoining areas. People held demonstrations and pelted forces with stones deployed in the area.
Sources said that police arrested dozens of youths in several areas of Srinagar on Thursday and have lodged them at different police stations. Reportedly, two youths including a minor have been arrested by the police in old city areas while in Soura four youths have been arrested by the police. Sources said that police raided several houses at Rampur in Chattabal area of Srinagar late Wednesday night and arrested at least 15 youths from there.
Reports said that intense clashes occurred between forces and protesters in many parts of Srinagar against the arrest of over 20 youths from Chattabal area. Witnesses said that local women carried out a protest march against the arrests.
Reports said that a group of youth hoisted Pakistani flags atop an electric pole at Goolchakri area of Shopian town while protest demonstrations were being held.
Witnesses said that people on motorcycles came from nearby areas and held demonstrations in the area. The forces later came and pulled out the flag, triggering clashes with youths. The protesters were attacked by heavy teargas shelling.
Intense clashes were reported from Pulwama district where youths kept forces engaged in pitched battles for several hours. Youths shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans hurled rocks at the forces while the forces retaliated with teargas and pellet gun firing.
Reports said that at least seven people sustained injuries during the clashes in Tahab area of Pulwama district.
Peaceful demonstrations and stone-pelting incidents were also reported from several other areas, including Newa, Hall, Dello, Bellow and Kareemabad, of Pulwama district. Locals alleged that the forces thrashed several youths and ransacked dozens of residential houses.
Sources said that a man from Burhan’s hometown Tral sustained injuries after forces threw a stone at him. He was shifted to the nearby hospital in Tral town. Reports said that at least four persons were injured in Meer area of Tral town in clashes that broke out there.
The block medical officer of Tral confirmed to Kashmir Reader that four persons were injured, two by pellets, in clashes on Thursday. “Among the four injured, one has been referred to Srinagar (hospital),” the official said.
Reports said that six people sustained injuries in areas of Achabal and Sangam of Anantnag district after fierce clashes erupted between youths and forces. Sources said that two youths were critically injured in Sangam area of Anantnag when one of them jumped into river Jhelum for saving himself while another was thrown off the bridge by police.
Witnesses said that the two youth were chased by the forces in a private vehicle when clashes were going on in the area.
Three persons sustained pellet injuries in Achabal area of Anantnag.
Reports of protests and clashes came from Sheer, Mattan, Seer, Hurmulla, Lal Chowk and few other areas of Anantnag district. Clashes were still going on many areas till the last reports came in.
A few areas in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district also witnessed protests and minor clashes on Thursday while the district observed complete shutdown.
Several residents of Kupwara district told Kashmir Reader that forces have arrested 40-50 youths during night raids on charges of stone-pelting. The arrests have caused anger among the locals who have been protesting since the morning.
A police statement released here on Thursday said that the situation throughout the valley remained peaceful and under control.
“There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley. Except Anantnag town, there were no restrictions anywhere in the Kashmir valley. Minor instances of stone pelting were reported from some places,” the statement said.
According to District Magistrate Pulwama, strict curfew will be imposed in all the six police stations of the district on Friday.
“No public and vehicular movement will be allowed in the district except for essential services and ambulances,” he said.