Ministers Motorcades Attacked, Curbs Relaxed in City Parts
SRINAGAR: Authorities tightened curfew in the Valley further on Tuesday in the clampdown since the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, even as protests and clashes broke out at some places, leaving at least four persons injured, one of them seriously, as two ministerial motorcades were attacked in central and north Kashmir.
In view of a separatist call for a march, blockades to Gurus hometown of Sopore were bolstered, but authorities said curfew was relaxed in a few police precincts in Srinagar and small areas in Handwara and Budgam.
Four persons were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas shells in the Sheeri area of Baramulla as police and paramilitary men tried to break up protestors to make way for a cabinet ministers motorcade, reports said.
Minister for medical education Taj Mohiuddin was on his way to the Baramulla town from the frontier area of Uri when held up by a procession marching from Fatahgarh.
According to reports, the ministers motorcade came under a stone-pelting attack from the protestors who refused to budge on warning shots fired into the air by security guards.
One person was hit in the eye by a tear gas shell and three others received rubber bullet injuries in the ensuing clashes between protestors and the forces.
Out of the injured, Muzzammil Qayum Rathar, had received splinter injuries in the eye, and was treated by an ophthalmologist, but later sent to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar, authorities at the district hospital in Baramulla said.
Finance minister Abdul Rahim Rathar was forced to retreat from Humhama outside Srinagar by stone-pelting crowds who attacked his entourage, reports said.
The minister had been on his way to the central district of Budgam.
As the protestors refused to budge before warning shots fired into the air by the ministers guards, police and paramilitary men
Violence broke out at some places despite tough four-day-old restrictions, leaving four persons injured, though curfew was relaxed in a few Srinagar precincts late in the afternoon.
Protests rocked Gurus hometown of Sopore on the fourth day of his hanging and burial in Tihar Jail, with processions emerging from several areas reports said.
Forces had sealed off all access to the town in view of a separatist call for a march for Gurus funeral prayers in absentia.
Brick-batting erupted in some areas of the Baramulla town for the fourth day running, and protests demonstrations were reported from Pakharpora, Pakhalan, and Pulwama. In Pulwama, the vehicle of a senior district officer was attacked with stones.
Reports of clashes also came from the Nauhatta, Khanyar and Rainawari quarters of old Srinagar, with residents of the downtown Safa Kadal and Dirish Kadal locality saying that forces personnel had damaged houses after incidents of stone pelting, and resorted to heavy tear-gas shelling.
In Srinagar, authorities said that curfew had been relaxed for three hours in the Raj Bagh and Ram Munshi Bagh precincts and in some areas of the Kothi Bagh, Saddar and Sher Ghari precincts of the city at three in the afternoon.
The three-hour relaxation was said to have passed incident free.
In north Kashmir, curfew was relaxed for two hours from 2 p,m. In areas coming under the Handwara police station, while in central Kashmir, a two-hour relaxation was given at four in the afternoon in the Budgam police precinct.
SKIMS REFUTES CRITICAL CONDITION REPORTS
Following media reports that doctors at the valley's only tertiary care hospital were working under serious pressure as they have been told that no injured should die or that if somebody succumbs he should not be declared dead, authorities on Tuesday denied that two persons injured in clashes over the past two days were in a critical condition.
Mushtaq Ahmad of Haigam, Sopore, and Sajjad Ahmad of Watragam (who were brought injured over the past days) have shown improvement since being admitted, the medical superintendent at the SKIMS, Dr. Ajaz Mustafa, said.
Both have been removed from ventilator support, he said.
Meanwhile, no newspaper hit the stands in Kashmir for the third consecutive day.
Authorities have made announcements through the state-run radio and television broadcasts that additional round-the-clock ambulances have been made available to ferry sick people to hospitals from areas under curfew.
Security forces have been advised to treat the identity cards of those maintaining essential services like healthcare, water supplies and electricity as curfew passes and allow their movements through those areas, an official said.
All examinations and interviews scheduled to be held up to February 17 have been postponed.
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