Srinagar: A nearly two-month curfew in the restive Kashmir was partially lifted on Monday only to be largely re-imposed after fresh violence erupted in several parts of the capital, Srinagar.
For many people the easing of the curfew had been the first opportunity in 52 days to move freely outside their homes. The Kashmir has been wracked by protests in the wake of the killing of a popular young militant separatist by security forces on 8 July.
Authorities announced the partial lifting of the curfew after declaring an improvement in the security situation. But in many areas residents swiftly came out to hurl stones at government forces and shout slogans demanding freedom from Indian rule.
Weeks of mobile phone network blackouts and movement restrictions have hit the poorest of Kashmir the hardest, with many people struggling to get hold of basic supplies from relief committees established across Srinagar.
Clashes erupted in Valley parts including in Srinagar during which several people were injured in forces’ action.
The curfew however remained in place in Nowhatta, MR Gunj police station areas and in Pulwama town of south Kashmir. But, according to locals, there was leniency in the strictness of the curfew.
Reports however said that as the clock struck 10, the youths emerged on streets of Srinagar areas here and started protests. The youths pelted stones on private vehicles, erected barricades and also stoned government forces vehicles and deployment, leading to clashes at multiple places. The clashes erupted at Sekkidafar, Nawa Kadal, Chhanapora, Magarmal Bagh, Eidgah Safa Kadal, Rainawari, Saida Kadal, Batamaloo, Habba Kadal, Kani Kadal and Hawal areas.
Following the clashes, the authorities imposed restrictions in these areas and also tightened curfew in other areas where it was already imposed. Heavy deployments of forces were rushed to the troubled areas but intense clashes erupted in the interiors of Batamaloo between forces and youths. Police used teargas shells and also chased away the protesters but they were re-grouping intermittently. The authorities in the afternoon re-imposed curfew at Batamaloo.
In the wake of eruption of clashes and protests, the traffic movement across the city saw decline but situation remained peaceful in Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas. The shops and commercial establishments however remained closed in view of the already announced protest programme by the joint resistance leadership.
The clashes between protesters and forces also erupted in Barsoo area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. The protests and violent protests raged in Mazhama area of Budgam district against the detention of a youth. In Budgam, several persons were injured in violent clashes between protesters and forces at Chadoora. Reports from Krimshore area of Budgam said that forces foiled a rally scheduled near Khansahab by resorting to teargas shelling in which several persons’ sustained injuries.
The north Kashmir’s Bandipora district also saw protests and clashes between youths and government forces. The protests broke out Ajas, Ashtangoo and Main Town of Bandipora while clashes erupted in Kaloosa. To quell the protesters at Kaloosa, police and forces used teargas and pepper shells. Many persons were reported to have minor injuries.
The protests were also reported from Baramulla and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir. Reports said that a trader has been booked under PSA at Singhpora while protests erupted at Nadihal and Palhallan. The residents of Ajas in Bandipora meanwhile alleged excesses by army against local populace.
In south Kashmir, the protests and clashes erupted at many places following lifting of curfew except in Pulwama. Reports said that clashes erupted at Sangam and Bijbehara in Anantnag district. The reports further said that the protesters also erupted in Kulgam. They, the reports, further said that residents of Pahalagam alleged that forces have been committing atrocities against the local populace.
According to an official statement issued by police, minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. “These incidents were reported from Guzarbal, Babademb, Saidpora, Batamaloo, Chanapora in Srinagar, Sangam in Islamabad, Gandwani, Shol Batango in Kulgam, Nadihal Chowk in Sopore, Brambari, Rekhipora in Kupwara and Kaloosa in Bandipora,” the statement said, and added that “some miscreants in their effort to disturb the situation pelted stones on police and security force deployments in these areas.”
“Except for these incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control throughout the Kashmir valley till filling of this report. Greater movement of traffic and people was observed across the valley including the city Srinagar,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed by people in Doda and Bhaderwah against the arrest of a prominent lawyer and social activist Advocate Babar-ul-Islam under PSA and also against Kashmir killings. The arrest of the Advocate Babar has evoked strong condemnations from Chenab Valley, Pir Panjal and Kashmir.
Girl Critical After Hit By A Smoke Shell
A girl at Fatehpora Ganderbal received serious face injuries after police allegedly lobbed a tear smoke shell that hit her face. She was immediately taken to District hospital where an X-ray report confirmed fracture in her nasal bone.
According to reports, police had raided a house in Rakh i Harran area where a youth was picked, but women in large came out and blocked the road. They held a strong protest and didn't allow police vehicle to leave the area. The women were demanding immediate release of the arrested youth.
Police however came up with baton charge and lobbed a smoke hand grenade to disperse the protesting women, during which an 18 year old girl was critically injured.
Victim and the locals allege that police threw smoke shell that hit the girls face, whereas SHO Ganderbal while denying the allegation said that girl fell down during the lathi charge and some ugly stone on the road injured her face. The girl was admitted in the hospital.
Meanwhile, police parties during raids in civil dresses at various places including Barsoo, Dhobipora, Kangan, Fatehpora, Malshahibagh and Tullamulla have arrested 6 youths. People from Malshahibagh allege police for harassment of residents and severe damages to the window panes of several houses and cars.
Threat To Life, Property Unveil Hizb Posters
Hizb ul Mujahideen posters with life threats to those shopkeepers and vehicle owners who do not respect Hurriyat calendar were found pasted on the street walls and electric poles in Beehama, Duderhama and Saloora.
The posters read that the ongoing freedom struggle has attained a huge impact and has entered in a decisive phase, so people need to follow the shutdown calls in a strict way. The posters warned of threat to life and property to those not obeying and respecting the resistance leadership.
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