Scores injured as clashes, protests rock Kashmir after Friday prayers

Srinagar: Scores of people were injured on Friday as anti-India clashes and protests erupted all across Kashmir Valley even as authorities clamped strict curfew in all major towns of Valley including in summer capital Srinagar.

According to GNS correspondent, thousands of CRPF, police and SSB personnel were deployed across Srinagar including in Old City, Maisuma, Batamaloo, Dalgate, Lal Chowk and Natipora areas since early morning to thwart protests in wake of Friday. The government forces had sealed roads with barricades and concertina wires and enforced curfew strictly.

Due to strict curfew, the Friday congregation prayers at Jamia Masjid were also disallowed for the fifth consecutive week. According to locals, the forces didn’t allow them to venture out of their homes. Some locals of Old City alleged that forces didn’t allow them to move towards mosques to offer Friday prayers.

The prayers were also disallowed in several sensitive areas of South and Central Kashmir. The curfew also remained strictly imposed in most of the towns of the rest of the Valley. Reports said that despite curfew, clashes and protests erupted at scores of places in Valley after Friday prayers.

In summer capital here, scores of youth took to streets at Kak Sarai, Rainawari, Baghe-e-Mehtab areas and staged anti-India and pro-Azadi protests. The protesters were intercepted by forces, sparking off the violent clashes. Police used teargas, pepper gas and also resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters. The clashes also erupted in parts of Old City soon after curfew was lifted this evening.

Massive clashes erupted at Khag, Beerwah and Ompora areas of central Kashmir’s Budgam district after Friday prayers during which police used teargas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters. At least 40 protesters were reported to be injured in the clashes but all were stable. The clashes also erupted at Kojer area of Ganderbal district after Friday prayers.

Clashes between police and protesters erupted at multiple places in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, resulting in injuries to several civilians as police used pellets and teargas shells. Reports said that a major procession on way to Kupwara Town from Muqam—e-Shah Wali was intercepted by police at Bohama and in the ensuing shelling, more than a half-dozen protesters sustained injuries. The peaceful protests were held at Kandi, Brambi and Arampora villages of the Kupwara.

The clashes also erupted at Kralgund, Tikkipora and other areas of Lolab in the district. The protesters at Tikkipora smashed the vehicle of a PDP Sarpanch from Dewar, Manzoor Ahmad. He however escaped unhurt. In north Kashmir, clashes erupted at Bomai Sopore, Haddipora Sopore, Sangrama, Nihalpora Pattan, Palhallan, Hatipor Sopore, Chankhan Sopore, Drood Tangmarg, Hajin, Khwaja Bagh, Old Town Baramulla and Papchan. Over a dozen persons were injured in these clashes.

The protesters attacked Police Training Centre at Sheeri in Baramulla. Meanwhile, Irshad Bhat, who works as cameraperson with Gulistan News was allegedly beaten by police while covering clashes at Azad Gunj in Baramulla.

In south Kashmir, a lady namely Hasina was injured when a teargas shell hit her at Newa in Pulwama during forces action. The violent clashes between police and protesters also erupted at Bijbehera, Anantnag, Tral, Qazigund, Kulgam and several other places. Besides, peaceful protest rallies were taken out from scores of places after Friday prayers. The mobile phone services except BSNL postpaid remained suspended all across Valley here today.

The protests and clashes also spread to Chenab region of Jammu as violent protests erupted at Doda after Friday prayers in which 10 persons including an SHO were reported injured. The area also observed shutdown against Kashmir killings.

Giving his version of Friday’s situation, a police spokesman said here: “More than three dozen incidents of stone pelting were reported from different districts of the Valley including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. Curfew was imposed in Srinagar and in the towns of Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Baramulla and Sopore.”

He said: “After Friday prayers miscreants assembled at various places and tried to disrupt the vehicular movement. At most of the places the miscreants started pelting stones on moving vehicles, police and security force deployments. The deployments exercised utmost restraint despite severe provocations at a number of places. Many police/security force men have been reported injured during these clashes.”

“At Arhama Ganderbal miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on security forces. While tackling the situation six persons were injured. At Dooru Tangmarg about 300-400 miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on police and security forces. Two persons were injured, one of whom was shifted to Srinagar,” the spokesman said.

“At Uttrsoo Anantnag, miscreants pelted stones on police and security forces. While dispersing the mob, four persons suffered minor injuries who were discharged after first aid from the hospital,” he added.

In a statement issued here, the joint resistance leadership said it has taken a strong note of the reports where in Ambulances and hospitals staff is being stopped and harassed.

“They (leaders) have appealed to people especially youth to strictly abide by the instructions issued by leadership. They further said that police and military barbarism is on its peak and there is huge inflow of injured to the hospital, so we need to help these wounded to reach the hospital as quickly as possible. Anybody damaging ambulances is an agent of government and police nab such elements,” the statement added.(GNS)

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