Srinagar: The normal life remained on a grinding halt in Kashmir Valley on Thursday recording the 27 th consecutive day of protests, clashes and shutdown following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s top commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Dozens of people, mostly protesters, sustained injuries during clashes with the government forces across the Valley on Thursday.
At least 20 persons were injured when a peaceful protest rally heading towards southern town of Shopian was intercepted by the government forces deployed in strength at Bongam quarter of the town. Sources said the government forces attacked the rally with heavy ammunition firing that left dozens of people injured. The youth pelted the forces with stones. The street battle lasted for several hours.
In another incident, dozens of people sustained injuries after the government forces fired teargas shells and pellet guns on a group of people who had hoisted Pakistani flag in Golechakri area of Shopian district. Intense clashes erupted in the area after youths engaged in pitch battles with forces deployed in the area. The forces later pulled off the Pakistan flag.
Earlier, during the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, at least seven people sustained injuries during the clashes after the government forces conducted nocturnal raids at Pehnoo, Tehlipora, Alyalpora and Kanipora villages. The government forces were searching for youngsters alleged to have been involved in stone-pelting. The residents alleged that the angry forces personnel smashed windowpanes of several residential houses.
Meanwhile, curfew and strict restrictions continued to be imposed in majority of the areas in the Valley with phone and internet services, except post-paid BSNL remaining suspended since the public uprising erupted in the Valley.
A massive rally, attended by thousands of villagers, was held in Denew, Nagam, Kandimarg and Ahmadabad areas of Kulgam district. The protesters, chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, were intercepted by the government forces triggering heavy clashes. Two youths sustained injuries after the rally was attacked with heavy teargas and pellet gun fires.
At least five persons were injured in Srigufwara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district after a protest march was intercepted and the protesters were baton charged.
Sources said that the four persons sustained pellet injuries in Burhan Wani’s hometown Tral where forces lobbed teargas and pellet fires to disperse the protesters.
Block Medical Officer, Dr. Shakil Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that four persons with pellet injuries have been admitted to the hospital on Thursday.
“Two injured persons with pellets in neck and face have been referred to Srinagar for further treatment,” Ahmad said. Sources said that late in the evening, armed policemen showed up in several villages around Tral town and threatened people against coming out of their homes. The locals alleged that the policemen smashed window panes of several houses.
A few ‘unity seminars’ were also organized in several areas across the Valley wherein scholars from different religious sections stressed for “unity to keep the momentum of on-going freedom movement”.
A huge seminar was organised in Aang Matipora (Bijbehara) wherein Vice-cahirman Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith, Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri addressed the gathering of thousands of people. “Unity and obedience towards leaders are must to keep momentum of current freedom struggle,” he said.
A similar seminar was organized in Sandu village of Pulwama which was led by few Hurriyat leaders. The seminar was attended by several thousand people, including women.
A bike-rally was organized in Seer Hamdan, Muqam areas of Anantnag district in which reportedly few militants also participated.
Peaceful protests were also held in Lethpora and Pampore areas where people raised slogans in favour of freedom and held dentations for several hours.
Heavy clashes erupted at Pahalgam after youths attacked two forces’ vehicles passing through the main chowk. Sources said following the incident, police have detained two youths from the locality.
A sit-in protest was held at Kaloosa village of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. The demonstration was held after the midday prayers jointly offered by the villagers.
In Kistwar, a complete shutdown was observed in the Muslim dominated areas of the district against the civilian killings in Kashmir Valley.
The protesters carried placards with slogans like “Go-India-Go Back”, “Stop Genocide” and “Indian Media Stop Propaganda against J&K.”
The shutdown call was given by Islami Markazi Majlis-e-Shaura Kishtwar which was announced by Imam Jamia Masjid Kishtwar, Farooq Ahmed Kitchloo.
Similarly, Doda and Thathri towns also observed a complete shutdown to protest the civilian killings. The shutdown call was given by Markazi Seerat Committee Doda and Masjid Committee Thathri.
Shops and other business establishments belonging to Muslims remained closed in Doda and Thathri, while as a massive protest really was held in which hundreds of people participated.
A huge pro-freedom protest was held at Chotipora Handwara on Baramulla Kupwara highway. The protesters were tear gassed which resulted in clashes in the area. Reports said that a tear smoke shell hit a protester on his head injuring him critically. Ten more protesters received pellets and were rushed to Langate Hospital.
Two civilians were injured at Sheeri village in Baramulla after clashes erupted between forces and youths in the area.
Scores of youth from Hajin town in Bandipora district held a bike rally. The bikers were waving green flags and shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. A candle light march was also held during late night in the area.
Late night clashes were reported from several areas of Srinagar and other districts of Valley where youths hurled stones at forces and held candle light marches in their respective areas.
—With inputs from Bilal Habib, Gowhar Maqbool, Shabir Ahmad and Mushtaq Ahmad