Kashmir Shut For 3rd Day Running

Government Forces use rubber bullets and pepper gas to quell protests

SRINAGAR: Authorities had to re-impose curfew at many places after violent clashes broke out between protesters and government forces at many parts of Kashmir Valley on Sunday. 

Amid restrictions, clashes erupted in Srinagar, Baramulla, Bandipore, Tral and many other parts of Valley. 

Normal life came to standstill for the third consecutive day on Sunday in the wake of 3-day strike call given by Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the killing of 4 unarmed civilians by the paramilitary BSF at Gool in Ramban district earlier this week.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads across the Valley. People across the valley observed strike in protest against the killing and alleged excesses by forces. Shops, petrol stations and other business establishments across the valley were closed and traffic was largely off the roads.

Reports said that youth formed small groups in many parts of the city and clashed with police and paramilitary CRPF men. At many places youth had burnt tyres to disrupt the vehicular movement.

At least 16 people, including six policemen, were injured in Sunday  clashes. Five protesters were injured in Baramulla. “One of the youth Irfan Manzoor was hit by a rubber bullet. He had been earlier hit by a bullet during February protests. Another youth Danish Ahmad who was hit by pellets was shifted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institutes of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) for treatment. Three other youth were also hit by pallets in Baramulla protests,” an eyewitness said.

Heavy stone-pelting incidents were reported from HMT, Habbakadal and Barzulla area of Srinagar. Police used pepper gas in Barzaull to disperse the protestors. Locals alleged that police personnel made extensive use of pepper gas in the area which caused inconvenience to residents. Protestors used public address system at many places for raising anti-India slogans.

Pitched battles were fought at different places of Barzulla in the afternoon. Residents of old Barzulla said that CRPF personnel Saturday evening damaged the windowpanes of the residential houses and beat up the inmates. They said that the personnel also damaged vehicles.

Police re-imposed curfew in Soura after heavy stone pelting incidents in the area. 

In nearby Nowshehra, reports said that hundreds of youth took to streets and held strong protests demonstration against Gool incident. However they were intercepted by forces leading to violent clashes. 

Agitated youth burnt tyres on roads in Batmaloo to show resentment against Gool killings and desecration of Holy Quran. Clashes erupted in Tengpora and Zakoora areas of Srinagar. 

Youth resorted to heavy stone pelting in HMT area of Srinagar and targeted CRPF and police personnel on duty. Police swung into action and charged them with canes. 

Govt forces foiled attempts by youth to hold protests at four places in old Srinagar.

Reports said that groups of youth, raising pro-freedom slogans took to streets at Noor Bagh. They were intercepted by large contingents of police and CRPF. Reports said that forces burst tear smoke shells, pepper gas and cane-charged the protestors. The latter in turn pelted stones on the forces triggering clashes in which at least four persons were injured.

Reports said that later additional reinforcement arrived in the area to contain the situation. The pitched battles continued for at least two hours. Authorities re-imposed curfew to diffuse the situation.

Reports said clashes broke out in the area following rumours that a local youth, injured in police action on Friday, had died in SKIMS. The news was later denied by the police.

Reports said that in restriction bound areas, the youth tried to take out processions in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rajouri Kadal and Babademb, however forces foiled their attempts.

To stop people from coming out, police and CRPF had sealed lanes and by lanes in restriction-bound areas of Srinagar. Several residents from old Srinagar alleged that unlike Saturday, they were not allowed to buy bread Sunday morning.

The residents said that forces blocked the roads with razor wire and armored vehicles.

Late Saturday evening, CRPF personnel allegedly entered in residential houses in different areas of Srinagar and ransacked them. Residents said that para-military men broke the window panes of the residential houses. They also beat up the inmates. The residents said that CRPF personnel also used pepper gas without any provocation in various areas of Srinagar.

Heavy stone pelting was reported from Goni Khan area of Srinagar during evening hours. Youth attacked CRPF bunker and pelted stones on it. Police and CRPF had tough time to contain protests.

In central district of Budgam, reports of protests and clashes were received from three places. The protests and clashes took place in Budgam town, Khan Sahib and Chadoora. However no one was injured.

Reports from Ganderbal district said that youth staged protests at Saloora Crossing however police swung into action and chased them away.

Youth erected barricades on the Srinagar- Leh highway at some places in Ganderbal and Kangan areas, however police rushed to the spot and removed them.

Forces remained deployed in market places at Safapora, Dhobipora, Manigam, Lar, Pandach, Nagbal, Tullamulla, Baroosa, Beehama Chowk, Tawheed Chowk, Main Bazar Kangan, Court Road Kangan, Jamia Market Kangan and village market Kangan. However the situation remained peaceful at these places.

Entire north Kashmir witnessed a complete shutdown.Violent clashes broke out at Khanpora Bridge in Baramulla when forces tried to disperse the protesters who were raising pro-freedom slogans and pelted stones on deployed Government Forces.

Forces resorted to tear gas shelling, protesters hurled stones in retaliation. During the clashes six protesters and five force personnel (including CRPF and police men) were injured. One of the injured has been identified as Danish Maqbool of Jamia Baramulla who was reportedly hit by a bullet in his throat. He was rushed to SKIMS Srinagar.

The residents of Baramulla town alleged that police was deliberately targeting youth with pellets in vital parts of the body. “The injuries caused by pellets are more dangerous than bullets as their treatment is very difficult,” they alleged.

Reports of complete shutdown were received from Handwara Tehsil of Kupwara district and the people took to streets in Langate area.

Bandipora district of north Kashmir also witnessed a complete shutdown and the authorities imposed restrictions to contain the movement of people.

Amid complete shutdown and restrictions, protests against Gool killings continued for the third running day in several areas of South Kashmir. Meanwhile, the residents of Kulgam town accused police of letting loose a reign of terror in the area.

Reports said that though curfew was officially lifted from Kulgam today, however strict restrictions were imposed in several areas. “Police and paramilitary forces wearing riot gears and armed with sticks were deployed in strength to foil any attempts of protests.

People accused the police and CRPF of letting loose reign of terror for last few days.

“The police and CRPF men pelt stones on the houses and break the window panes and then arrest the youth on the charges of stone pelting and in turn demand ransom to release them,” said the residents of Qaimou Kulgam.

They alleged that the government forces also have ransacked houses and break up the window panes, vehicles parked in the compounds of houses and beat up the inmates without any provocation.

Separatist leaders continued to remain either under house arrest or in detention. A police official said that situation across the valley remained largely peaceful. He said some stone pelting incidents were reported in Srinagar and other parts of the valley, however by and large situation remained peaceful. 

In-charge Medical Superintendent SKIMS Dr Farooq said that five injured were admitted in the hospital on Sunday.

Inspector General Police Kashmir Abdul Gani Mir said that some protesters and policemen were injured in clashes on Sunday. “As curfew had been lifted entire Valley, some incidents of stone pelting were reported in Khanpora area of Baramulla and in some areas of Srinagar in which some policemen and protesters were injured. Overall the situation remained peaceful,” he said.

Mir said that they have lodged an FIR against those who are spreading rumours on Facebook in Police Station Kothibagh. “Those who are spreading rumours will be dealt according to law. We are identifying these people who are spreading rumours on social networking sites,” he said.

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