August 2016 News

Kashmir Under Siege On Eve Of Aug 15

14 August 2016
Rising Kashmir
Sumaiya Yousuf

Srinagar: Curfew remained in place across all the ten districts of Kashmir valley on Sunday with unprecedented deployment of police and paramilitary forces made to foil protests on the eve of August 15. However, protesters defied the restrictions at many places leading to clashes with the government forces in which scores of persons were injured. Clashes were reported from Anantnag, Shopian, Budgam, Srinagar, Baramulla and Bandipora districts. Protesters clashed with government forces at Soibugh (Budgam), Hillar (Kokernag), Keegam (Shopian), Tral (Awantipora), Azad Gunj (Baramulla), Bomie (Sopore), and Nesu, Gulshan Abad and Mantrigam areas of Bandipora. Clashes erupted in several areas of downtown Srinagar in the evening with paramilitary CRPF men using tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. Normal life remained paralysed for the 37th straight day of the unrest which has witnessed 59 deaths besides thousands of injured civilians. Meanwhile, the government blockade on the mobile phone services, both postpaid and prepaid, continued with the government owned BSNL postpaid services being the only exception. Internet services, both mobile and broadband services, also remained blocked in an unprecedented communication clampdown. NORTH KASHMIR In north Kashmir, clashes erupted in Sopore, Baramulla and Bandipora. At Bandipora main town, around 300 people assembled to stage peaceful protests. Police and CRPF men used tear gas shells to disperse them. However, there were no reports of casualties when reports last came in. In Baramulla and Sopore, locals took to streets to protest against civilian killings, shouting anti- India slogans and pro-independence slogans. Sources said police and CRPF personnel fired tear smoke shells in which several youth sustained minor injuries. Reports of clashes between protesters and government forces reached from Kupwara, old bridge Baramulla, main town, Bandipora main town, Kaloosa, Aushtangoo, Ajar, Aargam, Sopore, Arampora, Chankhan, Zanipora, Sangrama, Tangmarg, Nihalpora, Bomai and Lolab. As per reports peaceful protests where held at Sopore in the afternoon. Eyewitnesses said forces fired tear smoke shells on protesters. Amid shutdown, curfew remained in place in all the districts of north Kashmir with massive deployment of forces was made on the eve of August 15. All major bridges were sealed with barbed wires to isolate protesters. SOUTH KASHMIR In South Kashmir, several youth were injured in clashes in south Kashmir's Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama districts. The exact number of injuries could not be ascertained due to the communication blockade enforces by the government on mobile and internet services. Clashes also erupted in Keegam Shopian, Rajpora, Kakpora, Anchipora and Mattan. Amid Pro-Pakistan slogans, rallies with green flags were taken out in south Kashmir. A massive rally was organized where militants reportedly took part to observe Pakistan's Independence Day. Police and CRPF immediately swung into action and dispersed the rallies by using tear smoke shells and baton charge. CENTRAL KASHMIR Clashes erupted in several places in downtown Srinagar in the evening as the city reeled under unprecedented restrictions. Police and paramilitary CRPF men used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. Meanwhile, massive security grid has been thrown around the venue of main August 15 official function to be held at Baskshi Stadium. All the link roads leading to city centre Lal Chowk and areas around Bakshi Stadium have been sealed. Check posts were set up across the city to curb civilian movement. Protests and clashes also erupted in Chadoora, Ompora and Budgam. Clashes broke out in Hussan Kangan last evening. They said seven people sustained injuries in the clashes. Sources said hundreds of youth were beaten at different areas in north and south Kashmir for raising Pakistan's national flag. POLICE STATEMENT According to police, 21 incidents of stone pelting were reported across the valley. 'About 2000 miscreants attacked an army camp at Dharmuna Soibugh, Budgam. While tackling with the huge mob six persons were injured. At Hillar in the jurisdiction of Police Station Kokernag, Anantnag miscreants about 200 in number tried to disrupt the traffic movement on Hillar-Kokernag road. They pelted stones on police and security forces,' a police spokesman said. 'At Keegam, Shopian a group of miscreants, about 500 in number pelted stones on Police Post Keegam. At Tral Awantipora miscreants assembled at Shariefabad and Noor Masjid Tral and pelted stones on security force deployments. At Azad Gunj Baramulla miscreants assembled and pelted stones on security force deployments. At Bomie Sopore miscreants blocked the road and pelted stones on police. At Bandipora miscreants assembled at Nesu, Gulshan Abad and Mantrigam areas and pelted stones on security force deployments,' the statement added. The police spokesman said the forces exercised maximum restraint despite 'grave provocation' at most of the places to contain the situation. Meanwhile, restrictions under Section 144-CrPC remained in force in the Valley. However, curfew was imposed in Srinagar and in the towns of Anantnag, Awantipora, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Sopore and Bandipora, he added.