Day 52: Protests erupt in Kashmir after authorities lift curfew

Srinagar: Pro-freedom protests and clashes erupted in Valley parts including in Srinagar on Monday after authorities lift curfew except under the police station areas of Nowhatta and Maharaj Gunj in Old City here and in Pulwama during which several people were injured in forces’ action.

As was announced earlier by police, the curfew was not imposed today in Kashmir Valley by authorities and the streets from morning hours saw extraordinary movement of private vehicles and pedestrians here in City including parts of downtown. The curfew however remained in place in Nowhatta, MR Gunj police station areas and in Pulwama town of south Kashmir. But, according to locals, there was leniency in the strictness of the curfew.

Reports however said that as the clock struck 10, the youths emerged on streets of Srinagar areas here and started protests. The youths pelted stones on private vehicles, erected barricades and also stoned government forces vehicles and deployment, leading to clashes at multiple places. The clashes erupted at Sekkidafar, Nawa Kadal, Chhanapora, Magarmal Bagh, Eidgah Safa Kadal, Rainawari, Saida Kadal, Batamaloo, Habba Kadal, Kani Kadal and Hawal areas.

Following the clashes, the authorities imposed restrictions in these areas and also tightened curfew in other areas where it was already imposed. Heavy deployments of forces were rushed to the troubled areas but intense clashes erupted in the interiors of Batamaloo between forces and youths. Police used teargas shells and also chased away the protesters but they were re-grouping intermittently. The authorities in the afternoon re-imposed curfew at Batamaloo.

In the wake of eruption of clashes and protests, the traffic movement across the city saw decline but situation remained peaceful in Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas. The shops and commercial establishments however remained closed in view of the already announced protest programme by the joint resistance leadership.

The clashes between protesters and forces also erupted in Barsoo area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. The protests and violent protests raged in Mazhama area of Budgam district against the detention of a youth. In Budgam, several persons were injured in violent clashes between protesters and forces at Chadoora. Reports from Krimshore area of Budgam said that forces foiled a rally scheduled near Khansahab by resorting to teargas shelling in which several persons’ sustained injuries.

The north Kashmir’s Bandipora district also saw protests and clashes between youths and government forces. The protests broke out Ajas, Ashtangoo and Main Town of Bandipora while clashes erupted in Kaloosa. To quell the protesters at Kaloosa, police and forces used teargas and pepper shells. Many persons were reported to have minor injuries.

The protests were also reported from Baramulla and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir. Reports said that a trader has been booked under PSA at Singhpora while protests erupted at Nadihal and Palhallan. The residents of Ajas in Bandipora meanwhile alleged excesses by army against local populace.

In south Kashmir, the protests and clashes erupted at many places following lifting of curfew except in Pulwama. Reports said that clashes erupted at Sangam and Bijbehara in Anantnag district. The reports further said that the protesters also erupted in Kulgam. They, the reports, further said that residents of Pahalagam alleged that forces have been committing atrocities against the local populace.

According to an official statement issued by police, minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. “These incidents were reported from Guzarbal, Babademb, Saidpora, Batamaloo, Chanapora in Srinagar, Sangam in Islamabad, Gandwani, Shol Batango in Kulgam, Nadihal Chowk in Sopore, Brambari, Rekhipora in Kupwara and Kaloosa in Bandipora,” the statement said, and added that “some miscreants in their effort to disturb the situation pelted stones on police and security force deployments in these areas.”

“Except for these incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control throughout the Kashmir valley till filling of this report. Greater movement of traffic and people was observed across the valley including the city Srinagar,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed by people in Doda and Bhaderwah against the arrest of a prominent lawyer and social activist Advocate Babar-ul-Islam under PSA and also against Kashmir killings. The arrest of the Advocate Babar has evoked strong condemnations from Chenab Valley, Pir Panjal and Kashmir. (GNS)