SRINAGAR: Twice in a day, the residents of Rangparistan, a locality in Rainawari area of downtown Srinagar, booed away a large contingent of government forces – both CRPF and police — on September 6, the first time when the troops attempted to enter the locality’s mosque in the afternoon to catch a protestor, and the second time when the troops came to arrest protestors in the night.
On Tuesday afternoon, when people were offering noon prayers, troops arrived at the mosque chasing a youngster. The young man entered the mosque, and the people praying there embraced him. Then they together came out and booed away the troops.
“Had we not come out, troops would have entered the mosque and the situation would have turned ugly,” an elderly man of the locality said.
The youngster, according to the man, was on his bike when he was stopped and then chased by troops who were patrolling the street at that time.
In the night, another local said, a large contingent raided the locality to arrest the protestors. But when news about their arrival spread, people came out and entered the same mosque. There they shouted azadi slogans, played pro-freedom songs, and once again booed the government troops away.
“I came out at 12 in the night, when somebody from the mosque asked people to come out on the streets as police had come to arrest our youth. We followed the call. A number of police vehicles had arrived. While some of us kept shouting slogans from the mosque, others engaged the troops on the street. All the vehicles fled. I returned home at 12:50am,” said the man.
Rainawari, unlike the downtown’s stone fighting epicenters like Nowhatta and Rajouri Kadal, is not particularly known for hurling stones and rocks. But since the uprising against India began on July 8, Rainawari is on boil. Stone-pelting, sloganeering and playing of azadi songs takes place every day.
Among the many people who have been injured in clashes with government troops in Rainawari, is 24-year-old Danish, resident of Kalwal Mohallah. A full pellet cartridge, fired by government forces, had shattered both his eyes. His one eye has been removed and the other eye has lost vision. His family has now sent him to a hospital outside the state for treatment. A senior ophthalmologist surgeon who has operated on him said that Danish had little chances of regaining eyesight.
To prevent government forces from carrying out night raids and arrests, the pro-freedom leadership’s programme has repeatedly asked people to block roads and lanes and patrol streets throughout the night.