Man dies of cardiac arrest after teargas shell explodes near his house; more than 200 injured in clashes with government troops; school in Kulgam catches fire; petrol bomb hurled at government rest house
Srinagar: More than 200 civilians were injured in clashes between youths and government forces across the Valley on Wednesday.
As many as 160 civilians were injured after government forces fired pellets and teargas shells at an ‘Eittihad-e-Millat’ conference organised by locals in Murran village in Pulwama district.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of forces entered the village and began baton-charging the people who had assembled at the venue.
“They ransacked several residential houses and damaged private property of locals. They also vandalised the stage erected by the locals for scholars who were to speak at the occasion,” a local said.
Announcements were made on public address systems of local mosques asking people to come out on roads and resist the troops.
“Soon after the announcements, thousands of people poured in from several adjoining villages and joined the protest demonstration,” witnesses said.
Later, clashes erupted between forces and participants with youths hurling stones at the troops. The troops fired pellets and teargas canisters at protesting people in which more than a hundred persons sustained injuries.
The protesters managed to chase away the troops from the venue and made fresh arrangements for the conference. Thousands of people later listened to scholars from various religious sections who asked people to remain resilient in their struggle for Azadi.
A doctor posted at public health centre Rohmoo told Kashmir Reader that 152 civilians injured during the clashes at Murran and adjoining villages were admitted to the health centre on Wednesday.
“Among them, 19 injured were referred to district hospital Pulwama due to severity of their injuries,” said the doctor.
Four of the injured who were taken to district hospital Pulwama, two of them having fracture and eye injuries, were referred to Srinagar hospitals for treatment. Two injured were also referred to Srinagar from PHC Rohmoo.
More than 40 people were injured after government forces raided another scheduled pro-freedom seminar at Mirhama village in Kulgam district.
Witnesses said that forces barged into the village and “terrorised” the entire locality by firing teargas shells and pellets. Dozens of civilians sustained injuries and were rushed to nearby health facilities in Kulgam district.
Furious youths pelted forces with stones and the pitched battle continued for several hours. The troops fired pellet ammunition to scatter the protesters. Clashes also broke out in nearby villages like Nowpora, Chawalgam, Pazalpora, Mattergam, Achthal, Ponipora, Chehlan and Lerow, where youths trying to march towards Mirhama village were stopped by a heavy deployment of troops.
“13 injured were shifted to district hospital Kulgam and among them, two injured were referred to Srinagar due to severity of their injuries,” a doctor posted at DH Kulgam said.
A portion of the Jawahar Navoday Vidyalaya School building was damaged after it caught fire, which locals said was due to teargas shells lobbed into it by government forces in Mirhama village. An ambulance belonging to the school was also damaged due to the fire.
An elderly man is reported to have died of a cardiac arrest when a teargas shell exploded near his house in Chawalgam village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The deceased man has been identified as Abdul Gani Wani.
Pro-freedom rallies were held at Palhallan, Pattan, Rafiabad, old town Baramulla, Sopore, Yaripora, Bomia, Sopore, Jamia Masjid and Kundalwan areas of Baramulla and Shopian districts, where thousands of people amid heavy sloganeering held demonstrations against the civilian killings. They also raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
A dozen people sustained injuries at Nagbal, Kiloora and Hablipora areas after troops of a patrolling party resorted to teargas shelling and pellet firing to scatter stone-throwing youths. The injured were either treated locally or were rushed to nearby health facilities.
Clashes were reported from Dardsun village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district where at least 10 persons sustained injuries after forces fired several rounds of teargas and pellets. Reports said that three among the injured were referred to Srinagar hospitals while the rest were treated at district hospital Kupwara.
Six persons were injured when troops barred people from marching towards Bewora village of Bijbehara town where a pro-freedom seminar-cum-rally was organised by locals. Youths hurled stones at the forces while the latter lobbed teargas shells to disperse protesters. The clashes lasted for several hours.
Locals of Padshahibagh area of Srinagar held a protest demonstration against the arrest of six local youths by police on charges of stone-pelting. Locals said that the troops raided the area at night and ransacked several residential houses. They alleged that troops in civvies thrashed inmates and even fired teargas canisters inside the houses.
Sources said that a woman was among five persons injured at Fatehpora area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district following clashes that broke out after troops attacked a rally in the locality. The injured were taken to district hospital Ganderbal.
Reports coming from Burzhama area of Srinagar said that a massive pro-freedom rally was held in the area. People from Batpora, Burzhama, Danihama, Theed, Harwan, Khimber, Chatterhama and other villages attended the huge gathering.
Intense clashes erupted in Batamaloo area of Srinagar where youth hurled rocks at forces while forces lobbed teargas shells and fired pellets to disperse them. A few youths have suffered minor injuries.
A police statement issued here said that barring some stray stone-pelting incidents, the overall situation remained under control throughout the valley.
“Four incidents of stone pelting were reported from Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Kupwara,” the police statement said, adding that at these places miscreants assembled on roads and attempted to disturb normal traffic and movement of people by hurling stones on vehicles, police and security force deployments.
At Kulgam, police said, about 300 “miscreants” assembled at Mirhama and hurled stones on police and security force deployments and set ablaze Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala School.
“Miscreants also hurled a petrol bomb on State Rest House, Chawalgam, which resulted in fire and partial damages to the rest house,” the statement said.
With inputs from Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad