Day 102:Eerie Calm Prevails Amid Shutdown,Clashes

Srinagar: The situation in unrest-hit Kashmir, which continued to be curfew-free for third day on Tuesday, was by and large peaceful as government forces foiled separatists' plans to hold protests in the city and elsewhere.

Many shops and business establishments including petrol pumps were open in Sanat Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh and Bishembar Nagar, though outlets remained closed in commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas, a police official said. "The situation across Kashmir Valley is by and large peaceful. There are no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere," a police official said.

A large number of roadside vendors set up their stalls on the TRC crossing-Batamaloo axis passing through Lal Chowk while a good number of private vehicles were plying. The movement of traffic was thin compared to yesterday apparently due to burning of two commercial taxis by unidentified youths in Parimpora area on Srinagar-Baramulla national highway yesterday.

Kashmir continued to be curfew-free for third day but security forces were deployed in strength at various spots prone to protests and street violence, officials said.

"Security forces have been deployed in sensitive areas to maintain law and order as also to instil a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day to day activities without fear," they said.

However, reports of minor clashes were reported from Rahmoo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir and Naugam in Chadoora area of central Kashmir's Budgam district after some people tried to stage demonstrations in response to the separatists' call. The separatists had asked people to "assemble and occupy" roads including in Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city.

Authorities foiled the separatists' plan by deploying security forces in strength in and around Lal Chowk and other vulnerable areas. The shutdown has affected schools, colleges and other educational institutions which continued to remain shut in the Valley, which is struggling to return to calm following the violence which erupted after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

Reports from different parts of Kashmir said that scores of youth were picked up by police during nocturnal raids. Over 400 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) while around 9000 have been arrested.

Hundreds of women participated in a separatist-backed rally at Yemrach Yaripora area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The rally passed through many villages of the district.

Large number of women also carried out a pro-freedom rally at New Theed Harwan area of Srinagar city. The rally was attended by a large number of women who chanted pro-freedom slogans. Locals from New Theed Harawan alleged that during a nocturnal raid on Monday, not only two persons were arrested but houses were damaged and people were roughed up.   

Locals from Kulgam alleged that CRPF barricades prevented them to move freely especially in times of need should they feel the necessity of visiting a hospital.

Meanwhile, government forces resorted to teargas shelling to foil a proposed pro-freedom march in Chadoora town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to foil separatist rally at Naugam on Srinagar-Charar-e-Sharief road in the central Kashmir district of Badgam.

Official sources said that the trouble started when people from different villages were marching towards Naugam following separatist call to participate in the rally there.

Security forces had been deployed in strength on all roads leading to Naugam on the Charar-e-Sharief to foil the rally. However, people raising ''pro-freedom'' slogans refused to disperse and tried to march towards the venue of the rally, security forces resorted to lathicharge which had no impact on demonstrators.

Later, security forces burst teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators who were pelting stones.

Additional security forces were rushed to the area to maintain peace and normalcy.

Forces resorted to aerial firing to break up a pro-freedom protest demonstration in Rahmoo village of Pulwama in south Kashmir.

Witnesses and reports said that a large number of people had assembled in Rahmoo village when an army vehicle reached at the spot. Soon, clashes erupted and army fired several rounds in air to disperse the protesters.

According to locals, on Monday evening a patrolling party from nearby Army camp thrashed a youth while her sister slapped the Army man. The incident prompted people to hit to roads while on Tuesday people resorted to heavy stone-pelting when army vehicles appeared in the village. Witnesses and reports said that at least three army vehicles were damaged during the clashes. Locals added that a youth suffered serious injuries and was shifted to Bones and Joint Hospital Srinagar for advanced treatment.


Police Arrest Brother Against Wanted Youth

During a nocturnal raid four persons including two brothers of a family were arrested in Mehjoor Nagar area of Srinagar city while police used tear-smoke shells to stop people from resisting these arrests.

 “While finding ‘wanted’ youth not present in the house, the police picked up his brother Javaid Ahmed and now they are ready to release Javaid only when his brother will report to police station. They (Police) are making mockery of democracy trampling the rights of an individual,” locals of Mehjoor Nagar said

They identified the arrested youth as Faisal Rashid, Aqib Rashid, Javaid Ahmed and Ashiq Ahmed.

During a nocturnal raid, two youth were also picked up by government forces from New Theed Harawan area of capital city Srinagar.

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