Police say militants hurled the grenade; army called in to repress uprising in Kulgam villages
Srinagar: A man identified as Bilal Ahmad Shah, resident of Malknag area in Anantnag district, was killed and 17 others injured in a grenade explosion in Sherbagh area of the district on Tuesday. Dr Majeed Mehraab, medical superintendent of district hospital Anantnag, said that 17 persons with injuries from grenade splinters were brought to the hospital among whom were five policemen. Bilal Ahmad Shah, he said, was an employee of the hospital who worked as a lab technician.
A police statement issued in the evening here said that “unknown militants hurled a grenade upon police post Sherbagh in the jurisdiction of Police Station Anantnag, resulting in on-spot death of one civilian namely Bilal Ahmad Shah and injuries to in-charge Police Post SI Feroz Ahmad and five other policemen. The injured were shifted to District Hospital Anantnag for treatment from where five of the injured including the in-charge PP Post were referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment.”
The government had imposed strict restrictions on people’s assembly and vehicle movement in the entire Valley a day ahead of the festival of Eid-ul-Azha. At several places, however, public protests led to clashes with government troops in which teargas shelling and pellet firing injured dozens of people. People also observed a complete shutdown across Kashmir in observance of the protest calendar issued by the pro-freedom leadership.
The army was called in to manage the unrest in Qaimoh and adjoining areas of Khudwani and Redwani villages of Kulgam district of south Kashmir. Reports and witnesses said that the army has occupied SKAUST Rice Research centre in Khudwani village.
Teargas shells injured at least five persons at Nusoo village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Witnesses said that the clashes occurred after a contingent of forces entered the village to arrest a youth for stone-pelting. The locals resisted the forces and angry youths hurled stones at the troops. The troops fired teargas shells and pellets to disperse the protestors.
Among the injured were Rifat Begum and Ghulam Muhammad Dar of the village, They were rushed to district hospital Bandipora. The residents alleged that the troops thrashed inmates and harassed women and children. Mild clashes were also reported from Bandipora town.
The locals of Kulgam and Anantnag town said that curfew-like restrictions were imposed by the government through the day. Large contingents of troops were deployed on all the routes leading to the towns.
A good number of troops were deployed at the two main Eidgahs of Anantnag district. All roads were sealed to prevent the ‘UNO chalo’ call given by the pro-freedom leadership of Kashmir for Wednesday, the day of Eid.
Sources said that forces denied entry into the Ahlihadith Eidgah Ashajipora and Hanafih Eidgah Janglat Mandi. The troops told people that no Eid prayers would be allowed there tomorrow.
Sources said that at several areas of south Kashmir, people were ordered to offer Eid prayers at local mosques and not to assemble at central Eidgahs.
The government forces foiled a pro-freedom rally-cum-seminar at Qazigund town in Anantnag where curfew was imposed to prevent people from assembling at the venue.
“Forces made announcements during the morning hours that curfew would remain enforced in the town and people are requested to remain inside their houses,” locals said.
Clashes erupted between youths and troops at Wayil area of Ganderbal district after troops lobbed teargas shells to scatter a group of demonstrators. Witnesses said that the demonstrators were raising anti-India and freedom slogans when forces reached the spot and lobbed tear smoke canisters at them.
A pro-freedom rally was thwarted at Dailgam village in Anantnag district by a heavy contingent of troops who stopped people from marching towards the venue to participate in a scheduled Millat-e-Itihad rally.
Clashes also erupted at Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar where youths pelted forces with stones. The troops resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the youth.
A group of youths attacked a forces’ convoy that was passing through Zawoora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district. Witnesses said that youth hurled rocks at forces’ vehicles and faced teargas canisters and pellets in return.
The forces later barged into and ransacked dozens of residential houses, damaging household goods and beating inmates. Several people have sustained injuries in the forces’ action.
A protest demonstration was also held at Batagund area of Pulwama district where people raised slogans in favour of freedom. Late-night protests were also held at Tral town.
Soldiers ransack houses in Langate areas
A group of soldiers ransacked houses and damaged properties in Channa Mohalla and Astan Mohalla areas of Langate in Kupwara district on Monday, local residents said.
Firdous Ahmad, a local resident, said the soldiers of 30 Rashtriya Rifles battalion entered the homes in these areas and started breaking window panes and doors and flung household items everywhere.
“It was completely unprovoked. There was no incident of stone pelting or a protest. They broke glass panes of my Alto K10 car,” Firdous told Kashmir Reader over phone.
At least 30 houses were damaged by the troops.
“While they were smashing my house I mustered courage and asked a soldier why they are doing it. He simply said ‘Andhar baetho warna mae goli maroon ga, saale (sit inside or I will shoot you (expletive follows ),” he said.
Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia, when contacted, said he will verify the people’s complaint and will get back to this reporter. However, he did not. Later his phone turned off when contacted again probably due to phone and network blackout imposed by the government at 4pm.
On August 9, army and CRPF men had damaged window panes worth Rs 50,000, a glass room worth Rs1.5 lakh in a newly- constructed house, motorbikes and refrigerators in Shallipora and Jamia Mohalla areas of the same district.
CRPF had termed the allegation baseless while the then army spokesperson NN Joshi did not respond to repeated calls from this newspaper.