In-Depth: Dozens injured in fresh south Kashmir clashes

Srinagar: Amid a fresh killing, clashes, curfew, protests and shutdown continued for the 47th consecutive day in Kashmir as authorities again deployed government forces in large numbers on Kashmir roads to thwart pro-freedom rallies and marches while to quell the protests and stop people from organizing rallies government forces continued to resort to night raids arresting scores of people. Pellets guns and bullets were yet again used on protesters in different parts of Kashmir Valley on Thursday.

Reports from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said that more than hundred people suffered pellet injuries after they resented the government action to vandalize the venue in Prichoo area where a rally was scheduled to be held. Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS that authorities in a bid to foil pro-freedom rally at Pirchoo area in Pulwama vandalize the stage and tents while fired tear-smoke shells and pellets on protesters who had taken to street against the government forces action during the dead of the night. Army personnel from 55 RR, CRPF 83 Battalion and local police according to witnesses occupied the venue during the middle of the night while people in large numbers hit to roads and clashed with the forces. Reports said that more than hundred people were injured while some of them received pellet injuries. Ironically, none of the injured visited government hospital, a move according to locals to evade arrest. During these clashes a youth whom locals identified as Amir Gul Mir, son of Ghulam Muhammad Mir of Ratnipora, succumbed minutes after he was received at SMHS hospital in Srinagar. The fresh killing sparked violent protests in Ratnipora and other adjacent villages of the district.

Locals added that government forces randomly arrested youth from different hamlets of the district including Gangoo and Pinglina areas. The intense clashes in the district forced authorities to impose strict curfew in the district. However, according to reports people defied curfew and marched towards Pirchoo while government forces continuously used tear-smoke shells and pellets to keep people at bay. The situation in the district remained tense while clashes between protesters and government forces continued for hours.

The locals accused government of fomenting trouble. “We had decided to organize a peaceful rally but government forces compelled us to resort to violence. Today’s action in Pulwama depicts the frustration of Mehbooba Mufti government,” said a fruit grower.

Sixty-nine people including 67 civilians and two policemen have died in the violence in the valley since July 9, a day after popular Hizbul Mujhadeen Commander Burhan Wani was killed by the government forces in a gunfight.

Later in the evening according to police rround 8 people, including three police officers, were injured in a grenade explosion near Degree College in Pulwama. The injured include an Additional Superintendent of Police Azhar Baba, Deputy Superintendent of Police Shafiq Ahmad and Station House Officer (SHO) Adil Ahmad. Eyewitnesses told CNS that after defying curfew as people’s march was on way to main town Pulwama, a mysterious blast created panic in the area. A police official said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade towards a security vehicle injuring 8 security personnel including three police officers and 4 CRPF personnel and an SOG man. Witnesses said that shortly after the blast government forces resorted to firing injuring at least three men who all were shifted to SMHS hospital Srinagar. According to locals one Muhammad Ashraf son of late Abdul Gani of Rohmu Pulwama received a bullet beneath his throat while two others including Danish Nabi of Gadoora and Javaid Ahmed of Frasipora Pulwama also received bullet injuries. All of them were shifted to Srinagar hospital for treatment. Despite repeated attempts SP Pulwama could not be contacted for the comments.

Reports from South Kashmir said that authorities had eased restrictions in Anantnag district, however curfew was re-imposed after stray stone-pelting incidents occurred near Mattan Chowk and Cheni Chowk. A huge pro-freedom rally was held at Verinag Anantnag that was attended by thousands of people and was addressed by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani. Geelani in his 9-minute long telephonic address said, “if India sincerely wants a permanent solution to Kashmir dispute, United Nations Security Council resolutions must be implemented.” Lashing out at authorities for “bringing more and more forces”, Geelani said, “India has been able to occupy J&K only due to its military might and it has again sent 2600 BSF personnel to Kashmir to further its occupation.”

Clashes erupted in Waniyar Safakadal area of Srinagar city after government forces thrashed three motorcycle-borne youth near Sakidafar while one of them received serious injuries and was shifted to SMHS hospital after he was hit on the head. As the news spread, people took to streets and staged massive protests against the forces. To disperse the protesters, forces burst several teargas shells.

Out of three, two wounded youth have been identified as Muhammad Shafi son of Muhammad Sultan a resident of Rajpora Sopore and Abdul Rashid Reshi son of Ghulam Muhammad a resident of Boami Sopore.

Meanwhile, the residents of Batamaloo alleged that forces resorted to aerial firing and thrashed people without any provocation.

Eyewitnesses said that government forces appeared at 7 am at Batamaloo bus stand and resorted to beating of people who went out to buy milk and veggies.

“I was out to buy bread and suddenly a large of posse of forces appeared from bus stand. They thrashed everyone, including women and children, who came their way. They fired several aerial shots also,” a resident of the locality said. He said the firing created panic and fear among the inhabitants.”It was unprovoked. People were out just to buy eatables. There were no protests,” he said.

A massive protest was organized by locals in Natipora Srinagar against the civilian killings and random arrest of youth. Scores of youth hit to roads and amid anti-India slogans held a massive protest in the area.

At least 30 people were injured after government forces tried to break up a protest march in Kawoosa village of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Eyewitnesses told CNS that large number of people tried to take out a pro-freedom rally that was dispersed by government forces who fired pellets and tear-smoke shells. The headman of the village Abdul Gafar said that more than 30 people were injured while four wounded youth were shifted to SMHS hospital Srinagar. “The government forces also seized a parked tractor,” he said and alleged that forces ransacked houses and beat up everyone who came to their way. The Headman added that a youth Muntazir Ahemd Sheikh son of Mansoor Ahmed received a bullet in his leg and was later on shifted to Srinagar hospital. (CNS)