More than 100 injured on Day 62; massive protests against night raids by police and arrests of youth; rifles snatched from policemen in Kulgam
Srinagar: Government forces continued to attack with ruthless force pro-freedom rallies across Kashmir, injuring more than 100 people on Thursday, the 62nd day of the public uprising against India that began after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
More than 50 people were injured after troops entered Dadsara area in Burhan’s hometown Tral to arrest youth on charges of stone-pelting. The troops were resisted by local residents, leading to clashes that left dozens injured.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of forces barged into the village during the afternoon and arrested two locals, Nazir Ahmad and Sajad Ahmad, an action that led to people coming out on the streets to demand release of the duo. Announcements were made on public address systems of mosques for people to come out and resist the troops. Later, scores of people from several nearby villages like, Naibugh, Chandegam, Nowdal, Ladiyar, Hardmeer and Tral town rushed to the spot and stood in the way of the troops.
The troops shot pellets and teargas shells at protesters while youths hurled rocks at the troops. A doctor at public health centre Dadsara said that 48 injured were admitted to the centre and among them, 5 persons who all had pellets injuries in their eye, were referred to Srinagar for treatment. One person who suffered facture was rushed to sub-district hospital Tral from where he was also referred to Srinagar due to severity of his injuries.
The traders’ federation of Tral town also held a demonstration against the atrocities of government forces in Kashmir.
Troops showered with pellets a gathering of people in Keller area of Shopian district where a pro-freedom rally was scheduled to be held. 22 civilians are reported to have sustained injuries, mostly by pellets.
Witnesses said that thousands of people from several villages of Shopian district had participated in the proposed rally. They said that troops lobbed dozens of teargas shells at the gathered people. The participants, mostly youths, hurled rocks at the troops while the latter fired pellet ammunition and teargas shells. The clashes continued for several hours. Later, when people successfully chased away troops from the area, a huge pro-freedom rally was held that ended peacefully.
At least 20 persons sustained injuries following intense clashes that erupted after government troops raided a pro-freedom rally-cum-seminar at Cheamul village of Qazigund area in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Witnesses said that troops entered the village during the morning hours when speakers had just started to address participants, and resorted to tear smoke shelling to scatter people who had assembled at the venue. The angry youths, in retaliation, hurled rocks at the forces.
Participants later assembled at a nearby makeshift venue in Targam village and successfully held the rally. The speakers asked people to remain steadfast and appealed to them to remain united during the ongoing public uprising.
The injured were either treated locally or were taken to nearby health centres. Sources said that a 23-year old youth identified as Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, son of Mohammad Yusuf Wani, resident of Wagund in Qazigund, sustained serious pellet injuries in his left eye and was rushed to district hospital Anantnag. Three injured were referred to Srinagar.
More than 22 civilians were injured following an attack by troops on a pro-freedom rally at Bathnoor in Lassipora village of Pulwama district. Witnesses said that a heavy contingent of forces attacked the rally with teargas and pellets. Furious youths pelted forces with stones and the pitched battle continued for several hours. The injured were rushed to nearby health facilities.
In Panzan village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, troops attacked a protest rally that was held against the civilian killings in the Valley during the current uprising. Sources said that troopers blocked the roads leading towards the venue and stopped people from participating in the proposed rally. When people tried to defy the restrictions, forces fired teargas shells and pellet ammunition to prevent people from marching towards the venue. A huge pro-freedom rally was also held at Nasrullahpora village in the district.
A massive pro-freedom rally was held at Jamnagar village in Shopian that witnessed participation of thousands of people. Residents of Nagbal village in the district held a night protest against the ransacking of several residential houses by the troops on Wednesday.
A peaceful protest demonstration was held at Kulgam town by locals where people also offered in-absentia funeral prayers for all the people killed by government forces during the ongoing uprising.
Amid a complete shutdown observed across north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a few protest rallies were carried out at villages, including in Azad Gunj Chowk, Jamia Masjid Sopore, Palhallan and Batingoo, where people raised slogans in favour of freedom. All the four bridges connecting old town Baramulla with rest of the areas were sealed off with concertina wires and a heavy deployment of forces guarded the bridges.
Scores of people from Ajas area of Bandipora district staged a protest demonstration against the arrest of a local Sumo jeep driver. Raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, protestors blocked the Srinagar-Bandipora highway for many hours. They were demanding immediate release of Mehraj-ud-din, a taxi driver who was arrested by the police.
Locals of Ajar village alleged that troops barged in and ransacked dozens of residential houses. They said that forces smashed windowpanes, household goods and also beat up inmates during the night.
Following the pro-freedom leadership’s call, people in Hajin offered Zuhr prayers on the road near the main bus stand. Soon after the completion of prayers, a massive protest rally was carried out by people that moved through the interiors of Hajin. The rally was led by leaders of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Muslim League, JKLF and Freedom Party. The participants raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Scores of people in Harwan area of Srinagar and in adjoining localities staged a day-long protest against the arrest of some youth by police on charges of stone-pelting during nocturnal raids. Chanting pro-freedom slogans, hundreds of people including women and children from Shalimar, Arabal and Chandpora localities staged day-long protests on the main road. The protesters alleged that police arrested as many as 10 youth in these localities. Two youths identified as Farooq Ahmad and Tanveer Ahmad have also been arrested from Qazibund village of Budgam district.
Some clashes and late-night stone-pelting occurred in several Srinagar areas. Troops lobbed teargas shells and fired pellets to scatter protesters. A few youths have reportedly sustained injuries during the clashes.
At Noorbagh area, people painted walls and roads with pro-freedom slogans. They also held a peaceful sit-in and denounced the unabated civilian killings across Kashmir Valley.
A police statement issued in the evening said that three incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Budgam, Pulwama and Shopian. “At these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles, police and security force deployments,” the statement said.
It said that increased movement of private and passenger vehicular traffic was observed in most parts of the Srinagar as also in the major towns of the valley.
The statement said that during the intervening night of 7th and 8th September, unknown militants entered the guard room at the residence of political leader Abdul Rashid Khanday, in an area under the jurisdiction of police station DH Pora, Kulgam, and snatched rifles from the police personnel deployed there.
The snatched rifles include one SLR, one 303, and two INSAS rifles.
—With inputs from Gowhar Maqbool, Bilal Habib and Mushtaq Ahmad