Day 119: Clashes, protests continue in Kashmir

Srinagar: Life remained adversely affected for the 119th consecutive day in the Valley due to separatist called protest shutdown. The Resistance leadership had appealed people to hold pro-freedom marches in Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Budgam, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Islamabad and march towards respective District Headquarters.

Though no curfew was imposed in any part of the Valley, but curbs and restrictions were in place in restive areas including old Srinagar city. Heavy contingent of government forces personnel had been deployed across Kashmir to quell protest marches.

In Srinagar city, congregational prayers were not offered at the historic central mosque Srinagar for the 17th week today. All roads leading to Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta Srinagar were closed with barbed wire while Kashmir’s top cleric and Hurriyat (M) chairman was not allowed to move out of his Nigeen residence where he remains under house arrest. A large number of forces personnel remained deployed outside the mosque and adjoining areas to stop any pedestrian movement. Congregational Friday prayers haven’t been offered at the mosque since the July 8 killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with forces. Hurriyat (M) spokesman Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam condemned the government move, saying that it was a direct interference into the religious affairs of Muslims.

Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS that pro-freedom protests were carried out shortly after Friday congregational prayers in Kunus Bandipora, Nihalpora, Kalsiri Pattan, Kralpora, Chanapora, Tral, Prichoo, Tahab Pulwama. Incidents of clashes were reported from Mominabad Batamaloo, Ali Jan Road Eidgah, Anchar Soura, Palhalan, Tahab Pulwama, Habak, Sopore, Baramulla, Khudwani Kulgam and Shopian.

Intense clashes erupted in Srinagar’s Soura area after Friday prayers.Local sources said that hundreds of people came out on road raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans soon after congregational Friday prayers. “A freedom rally was taken out from Jinab Sahab Aanchar which marched towards main market Soura,” eye witness’s said. However, reports said that hundreds of men in uniform were deployed in the area to thwart the rally.

“People did not relent and continued their march following which forces lobbed scores of tear gas and PAVA shells,” reports added. “Youth resorted to stone pelting and clashes ensued,” reports added.

Clashes also erupted in Palhalan area of Pattan town while at Nihalpora and Kalsiri area witnessed pro-freedom rallies.

“After Friday prayers ended, people amid pro-freedom sloganeering marched towards the highway, however, forces blocked the road near Government Higher Secondary School firing countless stun grenades and tear gas shells,” a resident said.

Meanwhile, after Friday prayers people at Tappar and Hamray areas of Pattan town staged a protest against police alleging that they implicated few youth from these areas in fabricated cases of school burning incidents.

Clashes erupted in Chewkalan area of Pulwama district when people pelted stones on government forces who had arrived in the village to conduct search operation. Government Forces according to witnesses resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesting people.

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

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