Day 95: Shutdown, Curbs Cripple Life

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Srinagar:  Life remained suspended on the 95th consecutive day with no let up in protest strike and authorities enforcing curfew in the interior areas of Srinagar city on Tuesday.

A police official said that the curbs on the movement of people in the jurisdiction of police stations of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maharaj Gunj had been imposed in view of the fourth day mourning of 12-year-old Junaid Ahmad, who was killed by pellets fired by police at Syedapora, quarter of the city. 

Reports said that a Muharram procession managed to reach Habba Kadal from Shamaswari- Khanqah despite heavy teargas shelling on it by police. 

Reports and witnesses added that government forces resorted to teargas shelling to prevent mourners from taking out the procession in Shamaswari area of Srinagar.However, they said, the procession managed to reach its final destination-Habba Kadal, despite the shelling.    

Pro-freedom and ‘Shia-Sunni bhai bhai’ slogans were heard during the procession.

Another procession was taken out from Mandibal area of Nowshera in Srinagar. As soon as the procession reached Alamgari Bazar, Hurriyat leader Masroor Abbas Ansari, who has been evading arrest, appeared and addressed the mourners. During his address, slogans like ‘We want freedom’ and ‘Shia-Sunni bhai bhai’ were shouted by the participants.

Police used tear-smoke shells when students staged protest at Hyderpora on Tuesday afternoon. A large number of students hit the roads chanting anti-government slogans. They agitated students resorted to stone-pelting prompting police to use tear-smoke shells to dissipate them.

The crackdown and subsequent search operations in Tahab and Tumlahal areas of Pulwama district sparked massive protests and clashes in which more than 20 persons were wounded. News agency CNS reported that clashes erupted after government forces cordoned off Tumlahal and Tahab villages of Pulwama. They said that youths pelted stones on the forces, who responded with teargas shelling.

Pertinently, a few days back suspected militants had attacked a minority police post in Tumlahal area of the district and had managed to snatch two rifles. The area according to a police official was cordoned off to flush out the militants responsible for the act.

Locals from Dadsara area of South Kashmir’s Tral town alleged that Army party from 18 Rashtriya Rifles and para-military Central Reserve Police Force created havoc in the area and caused damage to property worth millions. 

The locals termed the action of Army and CRPF ‘unprovoked’ and said that they unleashed a reign of terror in the area by damaging residential houses, parked vehicles, power transformers and other private and government buildings.

Action by Govt forces came a day before the ‘Dadsara Chalo’ call given by locals there. Pertinently, locals have called for Dadsara March on Wednesday. “A peaceful women protest was going on in the area when government forces emerged into the area. They didn’t touch the protesters but used sticks, guns and catapults and smashed the windowpanes of all the houses located on the roads. The houses stretching on 1.5 kilometers road were damaged while mosques too were not spared,” the residents said adding that no local police official was accompanying them.

Govt forces, according to locals damaged more than 50 private vehicles. 

Terming the allegations baseless, Srinagar based Defence Spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that no Army Jawan was involved in damaging the property of civilians. “We vehemently refute these charges. No Army man was involved in such type of action,” he said.

Reports said that scores of women held peaceful protests in Sopore town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“The women gathered at Old Jamia Masjid Spore and held a protest demonstration raising pro-freedom slogans,” an eye witness said.

Protesters marched towards Khanqah-e-Maula Sopore amid pro-freedom and anti-India sloganeering.

Reports of pro-freedom protests reached from Jamia Qadeem Sopore, Bomai, New Colony, Botengo. Protest was staged according the latest calendar given by the joint resistance leadership. For Tuesday, women were asked assemble and occupy local Chowks and centers from Zuhr to Asr in their areas.

Reports further said that protests were also held against the detention of local youths in the area.

POLICE VERSION

Police Arrest 66 In 24 Hrs, Say, ‘Situation Peaceful’

A police official said that following improvement in situation curfew was lifted from six Police Stations of South and East Srinagar, however restrictions continued in some Police Station areas of the old city.

There was no curfew any where across the valley. The situation remained by and large  peaceful although stray incidents of stone pelting were reported.  

A Police spokesperson said during the day increased flow of traffic and movement of people continued in most areas of Srinagar and other parts of valley. Vendors and some shopkeepers were seen doing their usual business in the markets and towns of the valley. '

A number of Muharram processions were taken out across the valley as also in Kargil. Most of processions culminated peacefully.

“The action against the trouble mongers and miscreants initiated by police is on, and in last 24 hours 66 persons involved in crimes of creating hurdles in movement of people, stone pelting and creating trouble for the common people have been arrested across Kashmir.”  

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