Day 126: Post Friday protests, clashes in Kashmir

Srinagar: Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in parts of Srinagar to prevent a protest march called by the separatists, officials said.

Meanwhile, life remained affected on the consecutive 126th day on Friday due to a separatist-sponsored strike.

“Curfew had been imposed in seven areas to maintain law and order,” said a police official. Separatists had called for the march to the Jamia Mosque in the city’s Nowhatta area. Congregational Friday prayers have not been allowed inside the mosque during past 17 weeks.

Reports said that all roads leading to Srinagar’s main Masjid were sealed since Thursday evening with massive deployment of paramilitary forces and imposition of strict curfew and restriction in old Srinagar city.

Separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has been kept under house arrest while Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested and shifted to the Srinagar central jail on Thursday. Syed Ali Geelani continues to remain under house arrest.

Syed Ali Geelani, witnesses told news agency CNS was locked inside his Hyderpora residence when he tried to march towards historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar. Geelani, along with his party activists came out of his room around 12:15 PM to march towards Jamia Masjid but was the police locked the gate of his house.

Reports said that strict restrictions were imposed in old Srinagar city where authorities arrested Mirwaiz Umar Farooq when he tried to proceed towards historic Jamia Masjid.

A protest march was also carried out in Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar city in which large number of people participated. The agitated protesters were stopped by police who in turn pelted stones on them. Police used tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters. Clashes between pro-freedom protesters and government forces continued for hours.

Pro-freedom marches were taken out in different parts of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Large number of people participated in a pro-freedom rally that was held at Ganistan Sumbal. The march was led by senior separatist leader Abdul Samad Inqalabi. Clashes broke out in Palhalan area when youth resorted to stone-pelting shortly after Friday congregational prayers. Earlier, a pro-freedom rally was taken out in the area that was led by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat District President Baramulla Abdul Gani Bhat. Bhat also addressed a large gathering and stressed upon the people to follow the resistance leadership program in letter and spirit. Pertinently, police have been continuously raiding the residential house of Bhat while he has so for managed to evade the arrest.

Government forces had to fire tear smoke shells to disperse protesters who were raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans soon after Friday prayers in Bandipora.

People after offering congregational prayers tried to assemble in Main Chowk and started raising slogans. However, the protesters pelted stones on forces as they reached the spot. The forces fired tear smoke shells to disperse protesters that led to clashes. Forces fired dozens of tear shells and resort to pellet firing to disperse the angry youth.

Police in Aloosa area of Bandipora while foiling a proposed pro-freedom rally arrested three youth during clashes.

Earlier in the morning scores of youth engaged police in clashes that lasted until prayers were concluded. Locals in Aloosa accused forces of ransacking the houses and other private property. Clashes were also reported from Papchan area of Bandipora.

Clashes broke out in Tahab and Naira areas of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district when a large number of people hit to roads and pelted stones on the government forces. People were agitating against the arrest of youth during nocturnal raids. Eyewitnesses told CNS that government forces arrested at least 10 youth from Tahab and Naira during raids on Thursday night. Pertinently, Naira is the native village of PDP youth leader Waheed-yr-Rehman Parra.

Witnesses and reports said that people from these villages first staged a protest outside police station Pulwama while shortly after Friday prayers youth took to roads and clashed with deployed government forces. Youth played Kashmiri patriotic numbers on the loud speakers of the mosques. Reports said that many people were injured during these clashes.

Pro-freedom marches were carried out in different parts of South Kashmir shortly after Friday congregational prayers. Reports said that large number of people participated in such marches in Shopian, Kulgam, Tral, Anantnag and Pulwama.

Pro-freedom marches were taken out in Rohmu, Mitrigam and Gosu Pulwama as well.

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district president for Anantnag Mir Hafizullah led a pro-freedom procession at Bado Mehand area of Bijbehara town. Witnesses said that large number of people participated in the rally. (CNS)

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