Crackers spark scare, Congress rally disrupted

KULGAM: Panic gripped people gathered for a Congress rally in Yaripora area Wednesday when police reportedly opened fire following bursting of crackers near the venue.

Eyewitnesses said that Congress party candidate for Homeshalibugh, Inayitullah Rather had organized an election rally that was supposed to be addressed by State Congress president Prof Saif-u-Din Soz. 

The party workers had started gathering at the venue near Sumo Stand in Yaripora area of Kulgam district. “I was keeping chairs in order while other party workers who had arrived at the venue were busy in chatting with each other. Suddenly we heard some sound resembling firing and it caused scare among the party workers who took it as an attack on them and began running for cover,” he said.

The shopkeepers alleged that soon after police personnel present in Yaripora resorted to indiscriminate aerial firing. “I was beaten to pulp while some of the security men entered into my shop and demanded weapon from me. They were holding me responsible for firing in the air,” a shopkeeper of Yaripora Gulzar Ahmed Paddar was quoted by CNS.

Reports said that all the shopkeepers downed their shutters after they were allegedly thrashed by police.

The Congress candidate Inayitullah Rather told CNS that it was not an attack on him or his workers. “The mysterious sound and subsequent aerial firing by police created panic in the area, however no one was hurt,” he said.

When contacted SP Kulgam, Mumtaz Ahmed said that few people set of fire crackers during the marriage ceremony of the daughter of an advocate living near the venue. “No firing incident took place and everything is normal in the area,” he said. 

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