Many injured in fresh clashes; pellets showered on father-son duo in Pattan
Srinagar: Body of a 24-year-old youth was retrieved from Jehlum River on Saturday, a day after he drowned after the government forces chased him in Sangam area of Anantnag district.
Witnesses said that three youths jumped into Jehlum on Friday evening to save themselves from the forces wrath who were firing tear smoke canisters and pellets shots to drive away the protesting and stone throwing people. They said that two of them managed to swim through to the other side of the bank while as third one couldn’t make it and his body was retrieved by locals on Saturday.
The youth was identified as Shahnawaz Ahmad Khatana son of Mohammad Iqbal Khatana of Dadoo Marhama Bijeberha.
Massive clashes erupted between government forces and youths near Marhama crossing and main chowk Sangam as soon as Khatana’s body was recovered.
Witnesses said that the forces lobbed several teargas shells and fired pellets shots to disperse the angry protesters. The youths hurled rocks at the forces and the ding-dong battles lasted for several hours. Amid heavy sloganeering, thousands of people offered funeral prayers to the deceased youth of Marhama. Shahnawaz’a was the 71st death during the on-going anti-India uprising.
Amid inclement weather and restrictions imposed by the government, dozens of people were injured in clashes with government forces across the Valley on Saturday.
More than 20 people sustained injuries when government forces used force against protesters in Bugam village in Kulgam to foil a pro-freedom rally.
Witnesses said that at around 9 am, a huge contingent of forces reached near the rally venue and resorted to teargas shelling and pellet firing to disperse the people who were making preparations for the rally.
During the clashes that continued for nearly half-an-hour, ten youth suffered injuries. Three of them received multiple injuries and were referred to Srinagar from district hospital Anantnag and DH Kulgam. Seven others were treated locally for minor injuries.
Witnesses said that the youth resisted the police action and hurled stones, forcing them to flee the spot. Later, a huge pro-freedom rally was organised at the village and according to a rough estimate, 50,000 thousand people from Bolsoo, Qaimoh, Nowpora, Bogund, Srundoo, Laroo, Chawalgam, Yaripora, Bachroo, Brazloo, Tarigam, Parigam, Redwani, Khundroo and Gofbal areas participated in it. The participants were addressed by the representatives of different religious groups and Hurriyat activists who asked participants to follow protest programme of pro-freedom leadership and remain ‘steadfast’ in the on-going uprising.
Considered to be the most volatile villages of the district, Bogam recorded zero poll percentage in last assembly election. The village last year had taken possession of the body of LeT commander Abu Qasim for his burial after fighting with the people of several villages.
In majority of the areas of Baramulla district, heavy restrictions had been imposed by the government to prevent people from holding protest demonstrations. All the four bridges connecting old town Baramulla with new Baramulla were sealed off with concertina wires.
At least 20 people were injured in Pattan after clashes between youth and government forces erupted in the northern Kashmir area. The youths pelted forces with stones while as, later lobbed several rounds of teargas and pellet gun fires.
Sources said a 14-year old and his father were also injured after forces shot pellet fires in main market Pattan. Six injured were shifted to sub-district hospital, witnesses said.
Protests erupted in Bangdara village of kreeri Baramulla after the forces attacked the residential houses and damaged the property including television sets and other electronic items worth Lacs besides window glasses. Dozens of heavy vehicles were also damaged by the government forces.
Two persons were injured when government forces fired tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the protesters at Watepora and Bandipora town.
Witnesses said that the forces attacked the pro-freedom protests with live ammunition at Bandipora town and Watepora where youths were raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Huge pro-freedom rallies were also organised in Kanjivular village of Shopian and Yaar Pulwama in which thousands of people participated. The people were raising Azadi and anti-India slogans. In Barbug village of the district, the activist of Dukhtaran-e-Millat took out a huge pro-freedom rally which ended peacefully in the locality. Around six people sustained injuries during clashes that erupted later in the village.
A huge protest rally was carried out in Nikas Haal of Pulwama district after villagers offered Zuhr prayers on the road against the civilian killings.
Witnesses said that the forces attacked the protest rally with tear smoke canisters triggering clahses in the village. The youths, in reply hurled stones at forces that continued for several hours.
The locals alleged that the forces later, ransacked dozens of residential houses and broke windowpanes in the area.
Sources said that the forces in Burhan’s hometown Tral didn’t allow local shopkeepers to open their shops during the relaxation period as per the pro-freedom leadership’s protest programme. They said that as soon as they unlocked shutters, heavy contingents of forces came and asked them to leave the area as curfew is still in force.
Earlier, a group of youths attacked a police party passing through the area. The youths hurled stones at the forces while later retaliated with teargas and pellet gun fires.
Witnesses said that a youth was caught by the forces and taken to police custody against which, locals held protest demonstration demanding immediate release of a youth.
The residents of Gulshanabad Koimoh told Kashmir Reader that the three minors aged 8, 10 and 12 years old were severalty beaten by CRPF personnel when they were playing in the nearby garden.
They said that forces dragged the minors and “ruthlessly” beat them up and later took them to police station Koimoh where, they said, forces intensified the beating that left all the three minors unconscious for a moment.
“They were rushed to nearby health facility where they are receiving treatment. The beating has caused fractures to two minors in arm and back,” they said.
The residents of Colony Bagh alleged that the forces damaged a local transformer by firing several shots of bullets on it on Friday. They also said that forces lobbed tear smoke shell inside a house that left a 40-year old lady, Saleema Beigh severely injured on Friday.
Residents of Wusan area of Kangan in Ganderbal said that the forces without any provocation thrashed several local residents and broke windowpanes of dozens of residential houses. They said that five people sustained injuries due to rampant beating by forces. The injured were shifted to the PHC Wusan for the treatment. Similar incident was also reported from Budregund village of district.
A pro-freedom seminar was organized at Jamiate Ahlihadeeth Anchar in which hundreds of people participated. The speakers who addressed the participants and asked them to follow the pro-freedom leadership’s protest programme.
Sources said that Imam Jamia Masjid Kishtwar Farooq Ahmed Kichloo warned the shopkeepers of Kishtwar that if they don’t follow shutdown calls given by the Majlis-e-Shoora, they have to face “social boycott” by the people.
In his Friday sermon, he said, “some shops during shutdown call given by the Majlis-e-Shoora Kishtwar to condemn the killings of innocent civilians killings in Kashmir and against the registration of an FIR against peaceful protesters were found open. Repeated violation of shutdown calls by any shopkeeper will force them to take up the path of issuing social boycott of such shopkeepers”. He asked the people to follow the decision of Majlis-e-Shoora.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed by Muslim community in Rajouri and Poonch districts against the civilian killings in Kashmir. All the shops, business establishments and educational institutions of Muslim community remained closed while traffic was also off the roads. –With inputs from Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad