Day 55: Kashmir continues to witness rallies, protests and clashes

Srinagar: A day after fresh killings and widespread protests, authorities on Thursday imposed restrictions in some parts of Valley to stop people from hitting to roads. Valley had witnessed violent protests on Wednesday in which one youth was killed and more than 400 people had suffered injuries.

Authorities had lifted curfew and restrictions from the entire Valley on Wednesday after 53 days since the unrest started on July 9. Educational institutions remained closed for the last 55 days as shops; markets and public transport have also remained suspended.

72 people including two cops have been killed and over 11,000 others injured in the Valley during this period.

Protest marches were carried out in different parts of Srinagar city. Clashes erupted after these protests in certain areas including Nowhatta, Khawja Bazar and Khanyar. A peaceful protest march was organized in Safakadal Srinagar. Reports said that intense clashes erupted in Khawaja Bazar. “Youths and forces fought pitched battles in the area before protestors formed a rally and marched towards Gojwara,” eyewitnesses sadi. Local sources from Seki Dafar-Nawa Kadal area said that an auto-rickshaw was set on fire by miscreants who according to locals belong to a particular political party.

Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in Kaloosa locality of Bandipora in North Kashmir Thursday in view of escalation in street protests since past few days, police said. Reports said that despite strict restrictions, a peaceful protest march was taken out in the district. Eyewitnesses told CNS that hundreds of people participated in the march that began from Gulshan Chowk in the main town. Protesters who carried placards and banners raised pro-freedom slogans. The protesters while denouncing the unabated civilian killings demanded political solution to the Kashmir problem. Reports said as the government forces started clearing barricades, the youth pelted stones on them triggering clashes. Several people were wounded during the clashes.

Reports said that a massive pro-freedom rally was organized in Kehnusa area of Bandipora which was addressed by the octogenarian leader Syed Ali Geelani over phone. He urged upon people to follow resistance leadership calendar. He asked people to be committed towards ongoing freedom struggle and maintain discipline.

Reports from frontier district Kupwara said that a massive protest was staged by people from different villages against the high handedness of Army men in these villages. Alleging overnight harassment unleashed by army troopers from 18 Rashtriya Rifles in Lolab, hundreds of residents from Sever, Harden, Warnow and Drudban areas held a strong protest demonstration at Khurhama Lolab. The protesters displayed army uniform having been snatched from the accused troopers during scuffle with angry residents as evidence to local magistrate. The magistrate according to reports assured “resolution of the issue amicably”.

“This has become a routine affair for these Army men to barge into our houses and harass male and female members. It is better to fight than to face humiliation from these ‘unbridled’ Army men who seen to be accountable to none,” one of the protesters told CNS.

Clashes between protesters and government forces erupted in Anantnag and Kulgam districts of South Kashmir. Reports said that a freedom rally was scheduled in Fura village of Kulgam district which was foiled by forces resulting in clashes. A same kind of rally was scheduled in Badasgam area of Anantnag district that too was foiled by government forces. Witnesses said that at least a dozen person were injured at both the places where government forces resorted to pellet firing against stone throwing protesters.

A massive pro-freedom rally was held by people at Pakharpora Pulwama. Witnesses said that more than twenty thousand people participated in the rally. The rally was addressed by different religious preachers.

A major pro-freedom rally was also organized in Trenz area of Shopian district. Locals said that the preparations for the rally and all the other arrangements were going on for last 10-15 days.“Arrangements were finalized late yesterday and the rally was held peacefully,” a local of Trenz said. The locals put the number of people attending the rally around 20,000 who have come from different quarters of the district and its villages from Pulwama and Kulgam as well.

Reports of clashes between protesters and government forces poured in from Mazhama, Sozheit, Magam and Kawoosa areas of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Reports said that clashes erupted in Mazhama and Kanihama villages after alleged vandalism by the government forces. More than 20 people were injured in the clashes. All the injured were rushed to nearby health centres on private vehicles, reports said. Witnesses added that some injured were shifted to Sub-district hospital Magam.

In Kanhima, women took to streets after people were exhorted to come out of their homes through announcements on public address systems. Locals alleged that forces smashed window panes and ransacked the residential houses in these villages.

Clashes also broke out in Ompora Budgam where at least four persons were wounded. (CNS)

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