Nigeen SHO hit by stone on face; Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid locked; curfew imposed in Kangan; youth injured in eye by pellets in Shopian
Srinagar: Amid a complete shutdown of markets, schools, colleges, public transport and private offices, the Valley witnessed on Friday street clashes, protest rallies, and in-absentia funeral prayers for militants and civilians slain in Shopian on Sunday.
Four youths were injured, one of them in his eye by pellets, after protests broke out in Shopian’s Meminder, Bonbazar and Alyalpora villages. In Srinagar, the station house officer (SHO) of Nigeen police station was injured after a stone hurled by a youth hit him on his face. The historic Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta was locked down by the administration and no prayers were allowed. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who addresses the Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid, was detained at his home, and so was his fellow JRL leader Syed Ali Geelani. Yasin Malik is in Central Jail since Wednesday.
Sources at Sub-District Hospital Shopian told Kashmir Reader that four injured persons were brought to the hospital on Friday. One of them had pellet injuries in his eye and was referred to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar. The other three were treated in the hospital.
Soon after Friday prayers, protests erupted in several parts of Kashmir. The JRL had called for “peaceful protests” after Friday prayers but clashes broke out across the Valley. The JRL had also asked Imams of all mosques to read out JRL’s resolutions and seek people’s support for them. Reports said that Imams read out the resolutions and then raised pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans. No resolutions were read at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, though, which stayed locked under the watch of government forces.
In downtown Srinagar, restrictions had been imposed in several areas to prevent protests. Large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF in anti-riot gear were deployed from the morning. Concertina wires were laid across roads at several places to prevent movement of both pedestrians and vehicles.
Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader that people took out a protest rally in Soura after offering in-absentia funeral prayers for slain militants and civilians. “People offered funeral prayers at Jinab Sahab shirine and later took out a protest rally towards main market Soura,” eyewitnesses said, adding, “Clashes erupted between youth and government forces after the rally reached main market Soura.”
Nigeen SHO Manzoor Beg was injured by a stone hurled at him when he was on patrol in his area. A police official from Nigeen police station told Kashmir Reader that the incident happened before noon. “He was on patrol when some youth hurled a stone at him, injuring him,” the official said and added that an FIR had been logged over the incident.
Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan, said the SHO had sustained facial injury and had been referred to SKIMS Bemina for eye care.
At Srinagar’s Government Medical College (GMC), students staged a sit-in protest at “Shaheed Afzal Guru Park” in the campus lawns. The students carried placards that read: “When people fight occupier, it is resistance not terrorism”, “Scarred and blinded”, “End pellet horror”, “I Protest”. They raised pro-freedom slogans and protested against “killings, unending pellet horror, use of human shields, firing into hospitals, and stopping of ambulances”. They also expressed solidarity with students who were allegedly beaten by government forces during student protests on Thursday.
In Budgam district, people at several places took out protest rallies and offered funeral prayers for those slain by government forces. Clashes erupted in Charar-i-Sharief and Beerwah areas after Friday prayers.
Sources said that scores of youth assembled near Charar-i-Sharief shrine and tried to march towards the main town, shouting pro-freedom slogans. Government forces swung into action and fired several teargas canisters to disperse them.
In main town Budgam and in Beerwah, people after offering Friday prayers offered funeral prayers in absentia for slain militants and civilians. In Budgam town, people assembled outside the Imam Bara and took out a protest march holding placards that read, “Aazadi hamara haq hai”, “Palestine ke musalmano, hum tumhare sath hain.”
In Beerwah, after offering in-absentia funeral prayers, people marched towards the police station, clashing with government forces on the way. Forces fired teargas shells to disperse them. Sources said a youth was detained by police in Adina area of Magam during the clashes.
In Pulwama district’s Kalanpora, a boy was injured after a stone hit his head. Doctors at community health centre Rajpora said that after initial treatment the boy was referred to District Hospital Pulwama.
In Shopian, which observed a shutdown for the sixth consecutive day, scores of people took out a protest march from Jamia Masjid to Gol Chowk, holding banners with photos of the militants and civilians killed on Sunday.
All business establishments, schools, colleges, shops remained closed in Shopian town and village areas. Internet also remains suspended since Sunday morning in Shopian and Kulgam districts.
A curfew was announced in Kangan area of Ganderbal district. Reports said that police vans announced the curfew in the morning. Several contingents of police and CRPF arrived in Kangan in the morning to enforce the curfew. Locals said the forces did not allow civilian movement and enforced the curfew strictly.
Officials said “restrictions” were imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any disturbance of peace.
People of Kangan said they were not allowed to offer Friday prayers at the local Jamia Masjid. “A large contingent of police came to our house and told my father that he is not allowed to call Jumma Azaan (call for Friday prayers). He argued with them but the policemen did not allow him to step out,” the son of Mohd Ismayil Rather, the muezzin of Jamia Masjid Kangan, told Kashmir Reader.
Police fired some teargas shells after a group of youths appeared on the Srinagar-Leh highway at Kijpora Kangan and hurled stones on the forces deployed there.
In Sonamarg, locals assembled outside the Hanfia Jamia Masjid Shareef in Gund area after offering prayers and held protests against the killing of Kangan youth Gowhar Rather in police action. They dispersed peacefully later.
Peaceful protests were also held by locals after Friday prayers at Akhal and Cherwan areas in Kangan.
A complete shutdown was observed in north Kashmir as well. In Kupwara’s Trehgam village, a large number of people hit the streets after Friday prayers and held protests. They shouted slogans in favour of Azadi and against government forces. In Palhalan, people took to the streets after Friday prayers. A group of youths threw stones at government forces that were deployed in the area, triggering clashes. Eyewitnesses said that government forces used tear smoke shells to disperse them.