More than 100 injured in protests; freedom rallies held in south Kashmir
Srinagar: A 20-year-old youth was killed by the government forces at Vesu, Qazigund, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district during clashes on Saturday evening.
Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that the forces attacked a “peaceful” protest demonstration with heavy teargas shelling and pellet firing, triggering clashes.
A protester Basit Ahmad Ahangar, 23, son of Ghulam Mohammad Ahangar, fell unconscious after being hit by pellets, they said.
The forces, they added, caught hold of him and threw him against a concrete pavement, causing him serious injuries.
Basit was removed to District Hospital Anantnag where doctors declared him “brought dead”, they said.
The medical surpintendent of the hospital, Dr Abdul Majid Mirab, confirmed that Basit died of head injuries.
“The youth had multiple pellet injuries on his legs and a wound in his head. It seemed that he had suffered a head injury by, may be, falling down while running away,” a doctor posted at the hospital said.
As soon as the news about Basit’s death reached his village, a large number of youth hit the Srinagar-Jammu highway to protest the incident.
They engaged the government forces in stone clashes, which were going in when last reports reached came in.
Earlier in the day, heavy demonstrations followed by clashes erupted between youths and the government forces across Kashmir Valley, resulting in injuries to more than a hundred civilians.
More than 30 people were injured, one of them critically, when the government forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling and pellet firing on protesters near Toor village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The protesters had been walking marching towards Roonipora village where a pro-freedom rally was scheduled to be held.
Witnesses in the locality said that the forces, early in the morning, vandalized the stage set-up by the locals.
When people resisted this attempt to foil the rally, the forces deployed in the area fired dozens of tear-smoke canisters and pellets.
The shelling created panic, with the people retaliating by pelting stones, witnesses said, adding that the clashes lasted for several hours.
The civilians injured in the clashes were admitted to District Hospital Anantnag, Sub-District Hospital Shangus, PHC Achabal, and PHC Mattan.
A doctor at the District Hospital Anantnag identified one of the injured as 65-year-old Abdul Ahad Dar.
Dar has a grave injury on his neck and has been referred to SKIMS Srinagar for advanced treatment, he said.
In Beerwah town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, fierce clashes between protesters and the forces left, at least, 55 persons injured.
Witnesses said that the forces fire pellets and teargas shells at the protesters, triggering heavy clashes in the locality. The clashes lasted for several hours, they said.
At least 25 people sustained injuries following the clashes between youth and government forces at Gulshanpora and Batigund villages in Tral town of Pulwama district.
Local said that a pro-freedom seminar-cum-rally had been organised by the locals, but the forces thwarted it by firing teargas shells and pellets.
The agitated youths hurled stones at the forces amid heavy pro-Islam and pro-freedom slogans.
The injured were rushed to nearby health facilities in Tral.
Sources, however, said a youth was referred to Srinagar due to severity of his injuries.
Around 15 people were injured at Aavura village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district after clashes broke between youths and the government forces.
Witnesses said that the forces fired several canisters of teargas and pellets to scatter the protesting people.
The youths hurled stones at the forces, with the pitched-battles continuing for several hours.
Around a dozen people sustained injuries, one of them critically, at Tukroo and Memamdar villages in Shopian, where youths clashed with the forces.
The critically injured was referred to Srinagar.
The witnesses said that the people were holding a peaceful protest, which the forces responded to by firing teargas shells and pellets, triggering clashes.
Intense clashes broke between youths and government forces near Sabzi Market at Soura, Srinagar. Eight people sustained pellet injuries.
Earlier, a pro-freedom rally, witnessing participation of hundreds of people, was taken out from Jenab Saheb Anchar to Soura Market.
Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesters burnt effigies of chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, and home minster of India, Rajnath Singh, in the Main Chowk, where from the forces didn’t allow the protesters to move forward.
The forces fired several rounds of teargas and pellets to disperse the stone-throwing people.
Clashes also erupted in several areas of Srinagar city.
Two pro-freedom seminars were organised at Gudder and Tullinowpora villages in Kulgam district. Hundreds of people attended the seminars.
Mild clashes and demonstrations were reported from Goosu, Brachi, Tahab, Rohmoo, Pakharpora, Murran and several other villages of Pulwama district.
At several places in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, Duhr prayers were offered on the roads as a mark of protest against the civilian killings and the ‘atrocities’ committed on the residents by the government forces.
Minor clashes erupted at a few places in the district after the prayers.
The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said that an ambulance of Sub-District Hospital Magam was attacked by the government forces at Barthana.
“This morning, the ambulance of hospital was ferrying medical staff of the hospital and on way to Magam. The ambulance was stopped by a cop at Barthana,” Dr G M Mir, president DAK, said in a statement issued here.
“The policeman dragged the driver down from the ambulance, and brutally manhandled and verbally abused him. It made the staff in the ambulance to come down and respond to the unruly behaviour by the said cop,” he said.
“The cop along with other forces harassed the whole staff and showered choicest abuses on them and didn’t even spare the female staff. They also threatened them of the dire consequences,” Dr Mir said, and condemned the incident.
Meanwhile, police said curfew was lifted from Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla and most parts of Srinagar district.
“However, curfew remained in force in the areas falling under the Police Stations of Maisuma, Batamaloo, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and M R Gunj,” police said in a statement.
It said that “12 incidents” of stone-pelting were reported from Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Sopore and Kupwara.
“At these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles and on police and security force deployments,” it said.
“Barring these incidents of stray stone pelting, the overall situation remained under control till filing of this report.”
-With inputs from- Bilal Habib, Mushtaq Ahmad and Kounsar Gul