Bandipore in Ferment, Army School Set Ablaze

BANDIPORE: Amid shutdown in Valley and undeclared curfew in scores of areas in Bandipora, pitched battles were fought between agitated youth and cops on Monday. The angry protesters who took to streets against the killing of two youth at Sumbal on Sunday set Army Goodwill School on fire at Hajin.

Hundreds of people converged on roads at different places of Bandipora district. People were seen protesting in Sumbal, Naidkhai, Gretabal, Safapora, Markundal and Hajin, raising anti-army and anti-India slogans.

Eyewitnesses said the situation went out of control when hundreds of animated people started a march towards Markundal. Soon after the intervention of police, the youth entered the premises of Army Goodwill School and set it ablaze, which was followed by a heavy stone-pelting by them.

Panic gripped in the area after police and Paramilitary troopers used dozens of tear smoke shells. The clashes between youth and police continued for hours. Protesters attacked the firetenders, which arrived to douse the fire. With assistance from police, the Fire and Emergency men stopped the fire from spreading further.

A police official said that few youth threw some petrol bombs inside the school that led to fire. “Timely action by police and firemen saved the building. Only one room of the building was gutted,” he said.

Meanwhile, Police resorted to teargas shelling and baton-charge in North Kashmir’s Palhalan area when scores of youth appeared on roads and protested the killings of two youth on Sunday by Army. Masked protestors pelted stones and burnt tyres on the road. Police, after failing to disperse them, used teargas shells. Large contingent of police and paramilitary forces  were deployed in the area to prevent the situation from going out of hand.

Due to strike call given by separatist leaders, police and paramilitary troopers were deployed in strength to thwart any protest especially in North Kashmir’s Bandipora District. Large contingent of police and CRPF personnel were deployed at Markundal, Kondabal and its adjacent areas and nobody was allowed to move on the roads. “There is undeclared curfew and we are not being allowed to come out from our houses,” a resident of Hajin said. 

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