SARFAESI, WPR Row Provoke Violent Protests In Valley

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Srinagar: Sarfaesi Act and West Pakistan Refugee issue have given the ongoing protests further impetus as thousands of people Friday participated in the protest campaign initiated by the Hurriyat leadership resulting in clashes at many places in the Srinagar city and elsewhere in all the major towns of the valley. 

The protesters raised slogans against the issuance of domicile certificates for West Pakistan refugees and the Supreme Court verdict on the sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir Valley witnessed a complete shutdown against the government move to issue ‘Domicile Certificates’ to West Pakistan Hindu Refugees staying in different parts of Jammu. Resistance leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had called upon people to rise against the ‘RSS-backed’ moves to ‘alter’ the nature of State Subject Law in the state. 

All the shops and business establishments remained shut while there was skeletal movement of public and private transport on the roads.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chief Yasin Malik was detained after he tried to stage a protest against the reported move of the government to issue domicile certificates to West Pakistan refugees. Witnesses said that Malik tried to march towards the city centre Lal Chowk along with his supporters when he was detained outside the mosque of Dastgeer Sahab (RA) in Sara-e-Bala area of Srinagar after congregational prayers.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who addressed people outside Jamia Masjid shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers denounced the government move of issuing domicile certificates to refugees. 

Mirwaiz said that the government move will be resisted with tooth and nail and nobody will be allowed to change the demographic character of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-government slogans, the protesters dubbed the reported government move as “State dictatorship”. Mirwaiz and the protesters were carrying banners with messages “No Domicile for West Pakistan refugees. Stop State Dictatorship’, “we want freedom” and ‘Down With SARFAESI Act”.

According to the eyewitnesses, shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers at grand mosque Jamia Masjid, hundreds of youth amid pro-freedom slogans took to roads and clashed with the deployed government forces. The protesters resorted to heavy stone-pelting while government forces responded with tear-smoke shells. The clashes between protesters and the government forces continued for hours.

Clashes erupted in Sopore town after Friday prayers as according to eyewitnesses government forces used force to disperse the civilian protesters who were demanding action against those who injured nine-year-old boy last week during stone pelting incident in the area. Protesters demanded that police should identify the culprits and book them.

Police fired teargas shells to disperse the protesters, eyewitnesses said. “Youth in scores took to streets hurling stones amid pro-freedom slogans on forces resulting in intense clashes.”

Clashes between protesters and the government forces were also reported from Papchen area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. 

Government Forces according to eyewitnesses used tear-smoke shells to dissipate protesters who were protesting against the Indian rule in Kashmir.

In South Kashmir’s Kulgam district, a protest was led by separatist leader Abdul Samad Inqalabi in Bogam area of the district. Amid pro-freedom slogans, the protesters marched through roads and reiterated that they will continue to protest till India rules here. The protesters waved green flags and shouted anti-India slogans.

Clashes between protesters and the government forces were reported from Tral town of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Reports said that protesters hurled rocks on the deployed security personnel who retaliated with tear-smoke shells.

A police official said that barring few stray incidents of stone-pelting the situation across Valley remained peaceful.

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