Forces ransack houses in Pulwama village where a boy was killed on Wednesday
Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed across the Valley on the 48th day of the anti-India uprising in Kashmir on Thursday.
Curfew remained imposed in majority of the areas and heavy deployment of forces continued to prevent people from holding protest demonstrations.
Rain and inclement weather through the day helped prevent clashes with government forces, but pro-freedom rallies-cum-seminars were held at several places in south Kashmir where scholars, addressing huge gatherings, stressed on the need for unity “to keep up the momentum of the public uprising.”
A huge rally was organised in Kehribal area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district that saw thousands of people raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans in unison.
Members of the Sikh community also participated in the rally and raised pro-Khalistan slogans. Speakers from various religious sects addressed the partisans, urging people to follow the pro-freedom leadership’s protest programme and to remain steadfast in the struggle for freedom.
Two pro-freedom rallies were organised at Kadgam and Gadapora areas of Shopian district in which thousands of people held demonstrations against the killings by the government forces.
A huge rally was organised in Pachaar area of Pulwama district that condemned the “inhumane act of forces” against the peaceful participants of the pro-freedom rally where more than 90 people had sustained injuries in teargas and pellet gun firing on Wednesday.
Similar rallies were organised in Sheeribal, Achan and Nowpora Kelam areas of Anantnag and Kulgam districts where people carrying green flags demonstrated against the civilian killings.
A condolence march was organised from Prichoo to Ratnipora, the native village of Amir Ahmad who was killed by government forces in Prichoo on Wednesday. Scores of people raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans and attended the march. They also offered condolences to the bereaved family.
The locals of Prichoo said that after they left for Ratnipora, police and paramilitary forces entered their village and ransacked dozens of residential houses and harassed the inmates.
“The forces created havoc in the village. Villagers fled their homes and took shelter in nearby rice fields,” a local said.
In north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, two youths were injured after clashes broke out between youth and government forces in Qazipora area. One among the injured during the clashes was identified as Asif Ahmed Sheikh, a local. He was hit by a teargas shell and was rushed to sub-district hospital Bandipora for treatment.
Clashes also erupted in Kaloosa area of the district where youth pelted forces with stones while the forces lobbed several rounds of teargas shells to disperse the protesters.
Scores of people held protest demonstrations against the arrest of two local youths by police during a night raid at Pandach in the outskirts of Srinagar city. Locals said that police along with paramilitary troops appeared during the dead of the night and arrested Sajid Ahmad Bangri along with another youth.
Father of Sajid Abdul Rashid Bangri said that his son who is 21 years of age is in transportation business and during the unrest was ferrying Armarnath yatris. “He is not a stone pelter. He was leaving for Ladakh when the police detained him,” he said.
Sources said that forces ransacked residential houses and damaged windowpanes of several homes in Warapora area of Sopore town on Wednesday night. Residents on Thursday came out on roads to protest. Witnesses said that the troops hurled choicest of abuses at the locals and threw stones at the windowpanes of houses.
“When people assembled near a local mosque, forces came once again and fired several shots of pellet fires that left several people injured,” a resident of the area said.
Sources said that a truck driver was injured in stone-pelting that was taking place near State Bank at Qazigund on Srinagar-Jammu highway. Identified as Shabir Ahmad Khan of Kupwara, he was referred to SKIMS Srinagar, after being given first-aid at PHC Qazigund.
According to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters, Kashmir, six incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora on Thursday. “These incidents were reported from Lawaypora in Srinagar; Hatlangoo, Warpora in Sopore; Khurhama in Kupwara; Watpora, Kaloosa in Bandipora,” the statement said.
The statement said that following improvement in the situation, increased movement of vehicular traffic and people was observed in most parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar city. “However, curfew remained in force under the areas of few police stations of Srinagar, town Anantnag, Pulwama and Pampore,” the police said.
Late-night protests erupted in several areas of south Kashmir in response to remarks made by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that she saved people of south Kashmir with a knife in her hand when they used to be taken for unpaid labour or ‘begaar’ by the government forces. People shouted slogans against Mehbooba for making such a ridiculous statement.