Day 22:Protests Fail to Die Down, SOG Opens Fire In Shopian


Srinagar: More than three weeks of curfew and restrictions have failed to dampen the rage sweeping Kashmir valley with reports of protests and clashes pouring in from various parts of the Valley.
At least three persons, including a woman, were injured when armed forces opened firing in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Saturday.
One report said a massive protest, triggered by nocturnal raids, Saturday was fired upon by the government forces at Imam Sahib resulting in injuries to two persons.
Enraged people stormed a camp of anti-militancy Special operations Group of J&K Police (SOG) in the area. The camp is guarded by CRPF as well.
SOG personnel, stationed there, fired indiscriminately. A woman in her fields at Dagpora village, at least 1.5 KM away from the camp,was hit by a bullet and grievously wounded.
“On youth has been hit in shoulder, another in leg and the woman has been hit in her abdomen”, a doctor at Shopian District Hospital said.
Woman was later referred to Srinagar in a critical condition, reports said.
Earlier defying curfew and restrictions thousands of people took out a pro-freedom peaceful motor rally in nearby Kulgam district on Saturday.
Thousands of people on bikes, cars, trollies and trucks held a peaceful rally in the district. Amid pro-freedom slogans the participants denounced the ongoing killings in Kashmir.
The rally according to eyewitnesses started from Muslim Chowk Bugam of the district and before culminated at the same spot it passed through different villages including Kadar, Muhammadpora, Katrasoo, Laru, Tolinopora, Shurat, Srindu, Datipora, Bogund, Supar, Dhani, Sunigam, Tarigam, Koimouh, Bichroo, Redwani, Mishipora, Hawroo, Frisal, Yaripora, Nonmai and other villages.
The rally was addressed by some local leaders at Bugam who appealed people to organise only peaceful protests. “We will not resort to violence if allowed to organise such peaceful protests. Today’s rally is an eye-opener that we don’t believe in violence. Police didn’t intervene today and accordingly we didn’t resort to violence,” the speakers said.
Protests also erupted in Tral native town of Burhan Wani, who death in a police encounter on July 8 triggered the current unrest. 
Smaller protests were reported from almost all parts of curfew bound South Kashmir.
In North Kashmir  at least 10 persons sustained injuries during clashes with government forces in Sopore. 
Reports said that the cavalcade of Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar was stoned by protesters at Sumbal in Bandipore district but he escaped unhurt. 
A curfew remained in force in Old City, Maisuma and Batamalu areas of the capital city to thwart possible protests while rest of the city observed a complete shutdown. Reports said that though the situation remained peaceful across the Srinagar but clashes erupted between protesting youth and retreating government forces men in the evening in dozens of Srinagar localities. Loud bursts of tear gas shells could be heard across the old city till late in the evening.

Ministers Cavalcade Stoned; Escapes Unhurt
Government had to rush police reinforcements from Srinagar to help its spokesperson return home safe amid a barrage of stone pelting in north Kashmir, police sources said.
Naeem Akhtar, state education minister and government spokesperson, had gone to Sumbal and other areas to access the law and order situation and taking stock of hospital management.
While returning to Srinagar, the angry protesters had created barricades at Maloora, Shelwatt and Penznar areas and attacked the minister’s cavalcade. An emergency reinforcement was rushed from Srinagar to rescue the minister’s cavalcade from protesters.
Amid raining stones, the police had to fire tear gas canisters and pepper gas to disperse the charged crowd.


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