September 2016 News

DAY 62: Forces Foil Freedom Rallies, 170 More Injured

8 September 2016
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir and Khalid Gul

Srinagar: At least 170 people sustained pellet and teargas shell injuries across Kashmir on Thursday as the ongoing uprising entered its 62nd straight day, witnesses and reports said, even as there was no let-up in massive pro-freedom rallies in scores of areas. A one-year-old girl fell unconscious after forces fired chilly-grenades at protestors in Chotta-Bazar, Kani Kadal locality in Srinagar. The girl identified as Zuha daughter of Ajaz Ahmed Zargar, was shifted to nearby SMHS hospital where her condition was said to be stable. SOUTH KASHMIR At least 150 people sustained injured as forces continued to foil freedom rallies in South Kashmir. People also resisted attempts of arrest of youth by police during raids in Tral, triggering clashes wherein scores of people were injured. At least 24 people were wounded after forces attacked a pro-freedom-cum-unity rally in Kellar village of Shopian. Witnesses said locals had planned a pro-freedom rally in the premises of a local Darasgah. However police and CRPF raided the venue this morning and ransacked it, triggering clashes, they said. The forces used pellets and lobbed teargas shells, but the defiant people again assembled and the rally, which was attended by thousands, was held successfully. A huge rally was also held in Jamnagri, Shopian which ended peacefully. At least 30 persons were injured after in clashes after forces tried to foil a pro-freedom rally in Batnoor-Lassipora village in Pulwama district, witnesses said. 'The forces started moving towards the venue from Pulwama to foil the rally. However, on way they were confronted by youth who hurled stones at them in Trichal, Tahab, Tumlahaal, Lassipora, Tantraypora and Armullah villages,' they said. The forces lobbed numerous teargas shells and fired pellets to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes. The villagers alleged that forces barged into houses, beat up inmates and ransacked household goods and also smashed windowpanes and other property. 'They beat up whosoever came in their way' residents of Trichal told Greater Kashmir. Witnesses said locals had erected barricades at many places to stop forces from reaching the venue where the rally was on. 'The forces, however, kept on removing the barricades and reached the Batnoor village where clashes, in which 25 people including some cops were injured, took place,' a group of locals said. The forces later retreated and the rally went on, they said. At least 30 people were injured after forces fired teargas shells and pellets to disperse people who had assembled to hold a pro-freedom rally in Qazigund area of Anantnag district. Locals said the rally was scheduled to be held in Chuymul village and a stage was set up. 'The volunteers were already patrolling to foil entry of forces. However, police and CRPF raided the venue at around 2 AM, vandalized the venue and beat up volunteers,' locals said. They said people came out of their houses and clashes erupted. 'The clashes continued till afternoon and a heavy deployment of forces was made all along the Srinagar-Jammu Highway and no one was allowed to move,' they said. 'Most of the injured had pellet injuries and four of them were shifted to district hospital,' health officials said. They said one of the injured identified as Muzafar Wani of Wagund-Qazigund-whose left eye was damaged after being hit with pellets-was referred to Srinagar. 'The rest of the injured were treated in Emergency and Trauma Hospital- Qazigund and Sub-District Hospital Dooru and other Primary Health Centers,' officials said. 'As the clashes continued in the village, people later assembled in a walnut orchard of adjacent Targom village and organized a rally there,' locals said. Clashes also erupted in Adigam village of Devsar in Kulgam district after forces tried to foil a rally, resulting into injuries to few people. At least 50 persons were injured in clashes between protesters and forces in Dadsara village of Tral. Local hospital sources said six injured persons were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. 'Five of them had pellet injuries in eyes while one had a fractured leg due to assault,' they said. 'The other injured are being treated at SDH Tral and PHC Dadsra.' Witnesses said clashes erupted after forces raided Mir Mohalla and Batpora to make arrests. People resisted it, triggering clashes. However, one youth was reportedly rounded up. Meanwhile, funeral prayers in-absentia were offered in Kulgam town for Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and civilians killed during the ongoing anti-India uprising. People also offered prayers on roads. In Tral town, the Traders' Federation-carrying banners and placards-held a protest demonstration. A blood donation camp was also organized in Prichul Pulwama by local Auqaf Committee. 'We collected 70 points of blood for those who get injured,' said Fayaz Andarbi, Chairman of the Committee. Reports of protests and clashes were also received from Sangam and Vesu-Qazigund in Anantnag district; Kaimoh in Kulgam district and Charsoo in Pulwama district. NORTH KASHMIR Scores of residents of Ajas Bandipora, including women, staged a protest against detention of a man. The protestors blocked Srinagar-Bandipora highway and shouted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. They were demanding release of sumo driver Mehraj-ud-din (32), who, they said, was arrested yesterday by police. 'He is not involved in any kind of stone-pelting activity. He is innocent,' said a protestor. He said had pleaded before police to release Mehraj, father of two, but they didn't listen. Meanwhile, hundreds of people offered Zuhr prayers on road in Gulshan Chowk to protest against civilian killings. People from Plan, Nowpora, Nibripora and Ajar participated in the prayers. Reports said people also offered Zuhr prayers on roads in Hajin area. Reports from Baramulla said barring a minor incident of stone-pelting in main town, the overall situation in the district remained peaceful. However, restrictions remained in place in the town by virtue of which movement on few bridges was not allowed. The situation in Palhallan and Pattan areas of Baramulla district too remained peaceful. Reports from Sopore suggested that on the call of joint resistance program, people offered Zuhr and Asr prayers on roads in various villages and later staged pro-freedom protests. The areas where pro-freedom rallies were held in Sopore include Chanakhan, Muslim Peer, Tujar Sharief, Bomia, Chotta Bazar, Noorbagh, Nowpora, Botengo, Dooru, Hygam, Tarzoo and Mazbugh. Locals of Hathlangoo, Tarzoo, Botengu and Dooru alleged forces' atrocities. Residents of Zainageer area alleged forces' atrocities, stating the forces broke windowpanes of many residential houses. Reports from Kupwara district said Kulanga-Handwara witnessed clashes while rallies were held in Natnoosa and Trehgam areas. SRINAGAR Five youth sustained pellet and tear-gas shell injuries when forces foiled a major protest rally at Rajouri Kadal area of old Srinagar this evening. Reports said forces intercepted a rally at Rajouri Kadal and didn't allow the protestors to proceed further. They fired dozens of teargas shells to push back the protestors, resulting in injuries to at least five youth. Reports of evening clashes poured in from Chotta Bazar, Kani Kadal, Karfali Mohalla, Khanyar, Bohri Kadal, Nawa Kadal, Hawal and Gojwara areas of old Srinagar. Reports also said youth clashed with forces at Batamaloo area of uptown while a torch procession was taken out at Nowgam area amid pro-freedom slogans. Reports said evening clashes were also witnessed at Palpora, Nopora, Sekidafar, Noorbagh and Qamarwari areas. Similar clashes were reported from Nawabazar and Fatehkadal areas as well. Meanwhile, shops opened after 6 pm at Regal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Residency Road, and Hari Singh High Street. Many old city residents said there were restrictions in place in several areas. CENTRAL KASHMIR Reports said huge protest rallies were taken from Panzan and Nasrullahpora of Budgam district. Witnesses said thousands of people from various areas participated in the rallies where pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were raised. Reports said activists from Hurriyat parties also participated in the rallies. In Panzan area, clashes broke out early in the morning when forces tried to foil a pro-freedom rally which was organised at local Higher Secondary School ground. Locals said that forces resorted to heavy tear-gas shelling and pellet firing, resulting in the injuries to at least five youth. At Nasrullahpora, reports said, speakers from various pro-freedom groups stressed on remaining steadfast and taking the present movement to its logical conclusion. In Ganderbal district, a complete shutdown was observed for the 62nd consecutive day. All shops and business establishments remained closed. POLICE VERSION A spokesman of the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir said that the overall situation remained 'under control throughout the valley.' 'However, some stray stone pelting incidents were reported till filing of this report,' he said. The spokesman said three incidents of stone pelting were reported from Budgam, Pulwama and Shopian. 'At these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles, police and security force deployments,' he said. The spokesman said that increased movement of private and passenger vehicular traffic was observed in most parts of Srinagar as also in major towns of Kashmir. Meanwhile, a police spokesman said restrictions on assembly of people across Kashmir have been lifted. 'There were no restrictions or curfew anywhere in the Valley today,' a police spokesman said. He, however, said forces have been deployed at 'sensitive places' to 'maintain law and order.'