Police arrest 67 more, clashes in Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kulgam
Srinagar: The government imposed curfew and restrictions at several places on Wednesday to block “Chalo calls” given by the united pro-freedom leadership. At several places troops remained stationed and concertina wires were laid on routes leading towards the rally venues.
The pro-freedom leadership in their protest programme had asked people to carry out pro-freedom rallies from Kupwara to Thregam, Baramulla to Pattan, Bandipora to Hajin, Budgam to Khag, Ganderbal to Wakoora, Srinagar to Sheher-e-Khas, Pulwama to Pulwama (central), Shopian to Keller, Kulgam to Qaimoh and Islamabad (Anantnag) to Pahalgam.
Witnesses said that at some places people tried to defy the restrictions but the forces deployed thwarted the move by lobbing tear smoke canisters and firing pellets. More than 30 civilians sustained injuries in the forces’ action in the Valley on Wednesday.
About 20 people were injured in fierce clashes that erupted at Redwani and Khudwani areas of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Government troops fired scores of teargas shells and pellets at the marchers who, defying restrictions, were heading towards Qaimoh. The injured were taken to nearby health facilities.
Earlier, government imposed curfew in Qaimoh area. A large number of army, police and CRPF troops were deployed while routes were blocked with concertina wires.
Similarly, a strict curfew was imposed in Khag village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district to foil a pro-freedom rally-cum seminar called by the pro-freedom leadership of Kashmir.
A contingent of army, police and CRPF were deployed to prevent people from marching towards the venue. The troops blocked all entry and exit points of Khag village and no one was allowed to enter or leave the area.
At least five people were injured following clashes between youths and government forces at Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district after forces attacked a pro-freedom seminar-cum-rally in the area.
Witnesses said that a contingent of forces raided the area at 1pm and attacked the rally with pellets and teargas shells. Youths hurled stones at the troops and came under heavy shelling in which several of them sustained injuries.
Locals said that people later assembled once again and successfully held the seminar.
At Wakoora in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, a large number of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed on roads. All the entry and exit points of the area were blocked with concertina wires and other barricades.
Reports said that angry youth pelted forces with stones while the latter lobbed tear smoke canisters to scatter stone-throwing people. Locals at Wakura said that four youth were detained from the locality.
The residents of Kambey Mohalla, Ganai Mohalla and Aparpora of Wakura area alleged that the forces smashed windowpanes of several residential houses.
Sources said that forces went berserk at Wampora village of Kulgam district and ransacked dozens of residential houses.
Witnesses said that forces also barged into the house of Hurriyat leader Mohammad Shaban and damaged the household stuff there. Locals said that windowpanes and private property of locals were damaged by the forces.
Demonstrations were held at Kelam area of Kulgam district as soon as the body of a youth who was killed in an accident with an army vehicle, reached his native village.
Scores of people, following the slain youth’s funeral procession, shouted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans and demanded justice.
A protest demonstration was held at Samboora village of Pampore town against the forces action where forces had injured more than 20 civilians on Tuesday.
Sources said that curfew-like restrictions were witnessed at Trehgam area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district in wake of Trehgam ‘Chalo’ call.
Mild clashes, protests and late-night clashes erupted at main chowk Soura and old city area of Srinagar where youth pelted forces with stones while the latter resorted to tear smoke canisters and pellet gun firing to disperse the people. A few people sustained minor injuries.
People at Bolus village of Kulgam district also engaged forces in pitched battles and came under teargas shelling.
According to a statement issued by the police, the situation across the Valley remained by and large peaceful on Wednesday. “No untoward incident was reported from anywhere,” it said.
According to the statement, during the day increased movement of traffic was observed in Srinagar city as also in main towns and on the inter-district roads.
The statement said that continuing its drive against “miscreants”, police arrested 67 such individuals in the past 24 hours “involved in different offences of causing disturbance”.
With Bilal Habib, Ishfaq Reshi and Shiekh Anees