Use of pellets continues
Srinagar: At least eight persons sustained injuries in clashes that broke out in Potushahi village in Lolab Valley where forces resorted to heavy teargas, pellet gun and aerial firing to disperse a group of people who had hurled stones at a convoy of forces when it passed through the area.
Sources said that a youth who was hit by a teargas shell in his abdomen was shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment due to the severity of his injuries. The spleen of the youth has been ruptured.
Four persons were injured during clashes in Pahloo village of Kulgam district during the intervening night of Tuesday-Wednesday after forces attacked a sit-in protest held against the arrest of some youths from the locality.
Forces lobbed several teargas shells to scatter the protesters, while the angry protesters pelted forces with stones shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Locals said that a peaceful sit-in was held at Pahloo bus stand late at night against the detention of two local youths over allegations of stone-pelting.
In Lassipora area of Sogam in Kupwara district, clashes broke out in which three youths sustained injuries. Witnesses said that the forces resorted to teargas and pellet gun firing resulting in injuries to at least three people. One among the injured has been identified as Shabir Ahmad Lone, 22. He was shifted to district hospital Kupwara from where he was referred to Srinagar for further treatment.
Intense clashes erupted in Batamaloo area of Srinagar in which three people sustained injuries because of teargas shelling by the forces.
A sit-in protest was held at Tengpora to demand action against DySP Yasir Qadri who has been accused of killing a Tengpora youth in ‘cold blood’ at his residence on July 10.
“The government is shielding DySP Yasir Qadri who is involved in the cold-blood murder of Shabir Ahmad Mir. Despite the directions passed by the court to file FIR against the police officer, the government is providing him protection cover,” the protesters said.
The protesters also tried to march towards the bypass but were stopped by the forces deployed in the area.
Restrictions and curfew continued in major parts of the Valley, including in Srinagar city. Curfew remained imposed in Anantnag town while heavy restrictions were in place in Sopore, Kupwara, Handwara, Baramulla, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian towns.
In Srinagar, clashes broke out in Chattabal, Nowgam, Nawakadal, Safa Kadal, Reck Chowk, Noorbagh, Cement Bridge, Zampa Kadal and old city areas. Youths came under heavy teargas shelling in which four people have sustained minor injuries.
Pro-freedom rallies continued to be held across the Valley in an effort to unite people and encourage them to keep up the anti-India uprising.
A huge rally, attended by thousands, was organized in Dadsara village in Tral town of Pulwama district where people raised slogans in favour of freedom. Thousands of people defying curfew arrived at Dadsara from different hamlets of Tral such as Chandrigam, Lardiyar, Aaligund, Amirabad, Noorpora, Sharifabad and other areas.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed the huge gathering via telephone. He appealed to people to remain steadfast at this crucial juncture of the struggle for freedom. He asked people to follow the pro-freedom leadership’s protest programme to take the public uprising to its logical end.
Similar rallies-cum-seminars were held in Padgampora, Dangerpora, Srigufwara, Aarihal and Lelhaar areas of Pulwama and Anantnag districts where speakers stressed on unity among people to continue the ongoing agitation.
Witnesses said that the thousands of people from Pulwama and Anantnag villages participated in rallies held there. They said that huge tents were erected by the people to accommodate visitors and pictures of militants were pasted at the venues.
Thousands of people from Kulgam areas like Rampura, Yaripora, Frisal, Butchur, Bugam, Khudwani and Bogand assembled in Qoimoh village to attend a pro-freedom rally organised by the people. Addressing the rally on telephone, Geelani said, “Indian freedom movement witnessed only one massacre at Jallianwala Bagh but Kashmiris have witnessed such Jallianwala Baghs many times.”
Reacting to the statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said “We don’t want jobs neither any packages. What we want is freedom from Indian occupation.”
Amid heavy restrictions, a complete shutdown was observed north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts where main routes were blocked with concertina wires.
In several areas of north Kashmir like Sopore, Patten, Palhalan, old town Baramulla, Kupwara town, Handwara and main town Bandipora, protest demonstrations were held. Reports said six youths were arrested by the police in Pattan area of Baramulla.
Pro-freedom and Islamic songs were played on public address systems of mosques throughout the day. The people of old town Baramulla offered Zuhr prayers on the roads at KakarHamam and later took out a protest march.
The people in Kehnusa area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora held protest demonstrations against what they said was the army’s ransacking of residential houses at night and the thrashing of several residents of the locality. The protesters blocked the Bandipora-Sopore highway and demanded action against the army soldiers.
Reports have come of massive clashes in Ganderbal district where people protested the arrest of a local youth from Fatehpora on charges of stone-pelting.
Scores of people from Hanjiwera Pattan blocked the Srinagar-Muzafarabad highway. The protesters, raising slogans in favour of freedom, were chased away by the police.
A peaceful protest was held in central Kashmir’s Budgam district where people offered Zuhr prayers on the road, led by senior Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hasan Almosvi Alsafvi.
In Qazigund area of Kulgam district, clashes were reported following the arrest of a local youth by the police. One youth identified as Sajad Ahmad Chopan was hit by pellets in his back and has been admitted to emergency hospital Qazigund.
A police handout issued in Srinagar in the evening said that barring a few incidents of stone pelting, the overall situation in the valley remained normal and under control.
“Although restrictions under section 144/CrPC remained in force in the Valley, curfew was imposed in some parts of Srinagar and Anantnag town only,” it said.
“About 300 miscreants assembled near Sangrama in the jurisdiction of Police Station Tarzoo, Sopore, and started pelting stones on the police party. Later on they were chased away by using mild force,” the statement said.
“About 50 miscreants assembled near Lassipora area of Sogam, Kupwara, and tried to block the Kupwara-Sogam road by pelting stones on the civilian vehicles. In order to ensure smooth flow of vehicular traffic, the Police/Security forces chased the miscreants away. One person Shabir Ahmad Lone resident of Lassipora was injured. He was shifted to District Hospital Kupwara for treatment. His condition is stated to be stable,” police said.
The statement said that about 500 “miscreants” assembled near village Qaimoh, Kulgam, and started hurling stones on the troops deployed there.
“In Srinagar a group of miscreants pelted stones on security force deployments near Tatoo ground and Noor Bagh and tried to disrupt the flow of civilian traffic. They were chased away,” the statement said.
-With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad and Bilal Habib