Shutdown, Curfew Suspends Normal Life

Scores injured in clashes; Mufti’s cavalcade attacked near Humhama

SRINAGAR: For the second consecutive day Saturday normal life remained affected in Kashmir following the strike called by Hurriyat Conference (G) against the Ramban blood bath and subsequent curfew and restrictions imposed by authorities in length and breadth of the Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu division. At least 20 policemen and thirty six civilians were injured during the clashes between government Forces and protestors.

Normal life was affected in Srinagar and authorities deployed heavy contingents of police and CRPF in every nook and corner of the city to thwart any protest demonstration.

Amid curfew, restrictions and strike, clashes erupted in different parts of the Valley between youth and policemen. Protestors were demanding stern action against BSF personnel responsible for innocent killings in Gool town of Ramban district. Shops, business establishments, banks, and semi-government institutions remained closed and traffic was off the roads in Srinagar, Baramulla, Bandipore, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian districts of the Kashmir valley.

Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch districts in Jammu and Kargil district of Ladakh region also observed complete strike in solidarity with the people of Gool.

In old Srinagar, the police and CRPF had laid razor wires and erected barricades at some road junctions. Shutdown, restrictions and heavy downpour kept people indoors helping authorities to maintain calm. 

However at Humhama on Airport road, youth resorted to heavy stone pelting at police which left DySp Zahoor Ahmed critically injured. Agitated youth attacked the cavalcade of Peoples Democratic Party Patron Mufti Mohammad Syed who was on way to his residence from Srinagar Airport. Due to timely intervention of police, the cavalcade managed to pass off the protestors, however, some of the windowpanes of few vehicles in his cavalcade got damaged in the attack.

Reports said that the security guards of former Chief Minister exercised restraint and did not retaliate. A police official while confirming the incident said that motorcade of PDP patron was attacked by some miscreants, however the timely action of police kept the protestors at bay.

Agitated protestors smashed the windowpanes of two CRPF vehicles at Nawab Bazar area of Srinagar on Saturday morning. Eyewitnesses said that protestors damaged both the vehicles completely. Soon after this incident CRPF personnel went berserk and ransacked dozens of residential houses. Stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from Sabzi Market Soura and Zainakot. Locals alleged that CRPF smashed the windowpanes of scores of houses and even did not spare the vehicles parked in different yards and roads.

According to reports, eight persons were injured in Khudwani Kulgam when CRPF and police personnel showered rubber bullets over them after they were protesting against the alleged ransacking of their houses by paramilitary personnel in the area.

Reports said that Government Forces resorted to firing when men and women came on roads at Khudwani Kulgam seeking punishment for the erring cops who according to them ransacked their houses without any provocation. CRPF personnel used rubber bullets which left 8 people injured. One lady received a bullet in her chest. Four of them were shifted to District Hospital Islamabad while the rest were admitted to Kulgam hospital.

The injured have been identified as Rouf Ahmed Kumhar son of Mohammad Ramzan Kumhar resident of Ganjipora Kulgam, Waseem Abdullah Ahangar resident of Ghat Khudwani, Mudasir Yousf Dar, Zahoor Maqbool Shiekh, Shahzad Wani son of Ghulam Mohammad, Shaheena Akhtar wife of Mohammad Akbar Wani, Hafeeza Begum wife of Abdul Qayoom Dar and Rukhsana Akhtar daughter of Abdul Qayoom Dar all residents of Khudwani.

CRPF thrashed two ambulance drivers Abdul Hamid Bhat and Mohammad Hussain Shiekh at Qaimou Kulgam when they were ferrying patients. They damaged two ambulances (JK03A-4404 and JK03B-5704) belonging to Public Health Centre Qaimoh.

CRPF personnel also thrashed a police sub-inspector Ishtiyak Ahmed at Kawaki Bazar, Qaimoh. “I was in plain clothes and despite disclosing my identity they (CRPF) thrashed me ruthlessly. They are not protectors but terrorists,” police officer told CNS.

Heavy stone pelting incidents were reported from South Kashmir’s Bonigam, Mughal Gund Yesoo area of Qazigund. Deputy Inspector General of Police South Kashmir Vijay Kumar and SP Kulgam reached on spot to diffuse the situation.

Police resorted to heavy tear gas shelling to disperse the protestors in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Protestors marched towards DC office Pulwamma amid anti-India slogans. At least six civilians were injured in the police action.

Reports of clashes were also received from Bandipore, Aloosa, Ashtengoo, Tangmarag and Kakapora.

Complete shutdown was observed in Kargil town against the desecration of holy Quran and killings of innocent Kashmiris. The call for the shutdown was given by the Islamic Society of Kargil. All the business establishments and government offices and schools remained closed while traffic was off the roads.

Earlier thousands of people took to streets there on the call of Imam Khomeini Trust to denounce the incidents.

A police handout said that the situation throughout Kashmir valley remained peaceful today. However, there were stone pelting reported from Tahab Chowk and Newa in Pulwama, Cement Bridge and Azadgunj in Baramulla, Papchan, Gulshan Chowk and Naidkhai in Bandipore, a couple of places in Shopian, Khudwani in Kulgam and Galwanpora Humhama in Budgam.

The deployments exercised maximum restraint. 15 police and CRPF men and two civilians were injured.

GOOL TENSE BUT CALM

Curfew was lifted from Gool where fresh protests broke out after noon prayers today. 

Slogan-shouting protestors blocked the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at Banihal belt and sat on a dharna demanding the arrest of the people involved in Gool firing.

"The highway has been reopened to vehicular traffic, which is now plying smoothly," SSP (National Highway), Virender Kumar said. 

The SSP, however, added that some disruption in traffic movement was reported in Banihal belt due to protests there. 

The authorities are monitoring the situation round-the- clock and additional forces have been deployed in sensitive areas of the Jammu region, a police spokesman said. 

"The situation is under control. It is peaceful and normal. There have been no major incidents from anywhere today", a police spokesman said here. 

Curfew has been lifted in Ramban district as the two-day curfew period expired last night and no fresh curfew orders were passed, officials said. 

Normalcy returned to Gool, Dharam and Sanglandan areas of Ramban district, which have been epicentre of the protests, he said. The situation in these areas was tense but calm, they said. 

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