Business Resumes, North Restive

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SRINAGAR: Even as life surged back into streets elsewhere in Kashmir after five days, authorities re-imposed strict curbs in Baramulla, Sopore and Lolab areas after violent flare-ups on Saturday.

Clashes also erupted in other North Kashmir towns like Bandipur, Kupwara and Langate, the overall toll of the injured in the region going to 45, including a pregnant woman, a two-year-old child and several forces personnel.

Most of Srinagar witnessed a heavy rush in markets and streets, but stone-pelting broke out in the afternoon in the Old City areas of Nauhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Kaw Dara and adjoining localities where police and paramilitary personnel fired tear gas shells to quell the violence.

In Baramulla, trouble started early in the morning with a forces swoop on the town’s taxi and bus stands when shops began to open for business, reports said.

News of a number of youth having been picked up in the sudden raid brought groups of youth into the streets in the old town, Khanpora, Chatti Padshahi, Cement Bridge, SRTC Bridge and some other localities.

Street-battles ensued with youth pelting stones at the police and the paramilitary force, and the latter retaliating with heavy tear gas shelling and aerial firing.

Authorities re-imposed curfew-like restrictions soon afterwards to control the situation.

Doctors at the local hospital said that around 30 persons brought in with injuries were discharged after first aid, and according to reports a residential house in the Iqbal Market of the Jalaal Sahib area suffered some damage in a fire caused by a tear gas shell landing inside.

The Selu area in the sister township of Sopore too came under curfew again today due to severe violence breaking out from the Selu, Seer, Chankhun, Amargarh, Sangrama and Ranji areas.

According to reports, groups of youth began pelting stones on vehicles and shops as soon as everyday life resumed early today.

A police spokesman said that over a score of vehicles were damaged in the stone-pelting attacks, and several persons injured.

“As the forces chased the violent groups, the latter retaliated with stones, leading to serious injuries to a pregnant woman, Zareefa of Kupwara, and a two-year-old boy, Tabish,” the police said.

“Five policemen, including the station house officer (SHO) for Tarzoo, and three CRPF personnel too were seriously injured in the stone-pelting,” he said.

Clashes also broke out in the Palhalan and Pattan areas of the Baramulla district, while a number of people were injured in Tangmarg, Kunzar, Magam and Mazhama during violent protests amid a total bandh in these areas against forces rampages.

Violent protests were also reported from the Handwara, Langate, Kral Gund, Watragam, Rafiabad, and Dangiwach areas in the Kupwara district.

In Bandipur, markets remained closed in protest over a dozen arrests in the town in the past days, and isolated incidents of stone-pelting were reported from the area.

In South Kashmir, everyday business resumed peacefully in Anantnag and Shopian towns, but shops closed down in Qaimoh and Khadwani areas of the Kulgam district.

Protests were held amid a total shutdown in the Kakpora, Naiman, Okhu and Pahu areas of the Pulwama district against arrests made in the localities the previous night.

The Nahama area also remained shut down over the arrest of Jama’at-e-Islami spokesman Zahid Ali.

Meanwhile, the police in Srinagar said that 36 police and paramilitary personnel, including one SP, one DSP, an assistant commandant of the CRPF, 4 sub-inspectors and three assistant sub-inspectors, were injured in the city during law and order situations over the past month.  

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