September 2016 News

Day 77: Toll 88: Forces Kill Youth In Baramulla

23 September 2016
Greater Kashmir
Altaf Baba and Abid Bashir

Baramulla: A 22-year-old youth was killed after forces fired at him while he was busy harvesting crops in his field in Nadihal area of Rafiabad in north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Friday evening, witnesses and reports said. With the fresh killing, the death toll in the ongoing uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani has mounted to 88 in the past 77 days. At least 100 more youth sustained injuries in forces' action on protesters after Friday prayers across Kashmir. The slain youth was identified as Waseem Ahmad Lone son of Nazir Ahmad of Nadihal Rafiabad. Local hospital authorities said a bullet had hit Waseem on his back and pierced through his heart, resulting in his death. 'The bullet had damaged his heart, causing his instant death,' said Dr Masood, Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Baramulla. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT Witnesses said the killing of Waseem occurred when men and women were busy in paddy fields in Nadihal. 'All of a sudden, forces fired from one of their vehicles. A bullet hit Waseem directly. An army convoy comprising of around three vehicles while passing through the area fired from their vehicle without any provocation,' they said. 'We, along with Waseem, were working in the paddy field at the time of firing.' Abdur Rashid of Nadihal said a bullet hit Waseem and he instantly fell down. 'We took him to a hospital where he was declared as brought dead,' he said. As the news of youth's death spread in the area, thousands of people hit the streets and staged massive pro-freedom demonstrations. The women were seen beating their chests while youth were trying hard to console the family of the slain youth. Describing the killing as a barbaric act, locals said it is the second death since August 30 'where army is involved.' 'First forces killed Danish Manzoor in August and now they killed Waseem. In both the cases, forces showered bullets without any provocation,' said Muhammad Shaban, a local resident. He said the tragic incident has occurred when entire population in Baramulla is busy in harvesting crops and even clothes of Waseem and people accompanying him had mud splattered on them. Meanwhile, when contacted, DIG Baramulla Uttam Chand said: 'We don't have any information about the circumstances that led to the death of the slain youth. I don't have any information about the incident as of now.' 'WILL ASCERTAIN FACTS' Army's spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, said: 'We are ascertaining the facts about how the youth was killed in (Nadihal).' NORTH KASHMIR At least 15 people sustained pellet and teargas shell injuries in Sopore area, reports said. The Friday congregational prayers were held at two places only-Jamia Masjid Sopore and New Colony. Reports said when a joint protest rally of people reached near Main Chowk, a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF came under stone-pelting. The forces fired pellets and teargas shells in which at least 15 people sustained injuries, they said. The clashes later spread to other areas including Muslim Peer, Bomai, Chanakhan, Tujjar Sharief, Tarzoo and Hathlangoo, and continued till late evening. Reports from Bandipora district said forces resorted to teargas shelling and pellet firing to foil a proposed pro-freedom rally there. The forces fired dozens of teargas shells and pellets to disperse protesters who were preparing to take out the rally from Jamia Masjid Bandipora to Gulshan Chowk, triggering clashes. Youth clashed with police in Gulshan Chowk and Plan areas. Meanwhile, police detained a rights activist and Hurriyat Conference (G) member from Hajin area of Bandipora, his family said. Muhammad Yousuf Sofi alias Salman Yousuf is General Secretary (Bandipora) of Hurriyat (G). Sofi, a resident of Brar village, was detained while he was coming out from Jamia Masjid Hajin after offering congregational Friday prayers, his family members. Meanwhile, people held a protest rally against the detention of Sofi and demanded his immediate release. Residents of Ajas area offered Friday congregational prayers in Eidgah. Later, they held a protest in Ajas Chowk and shouted pro-freedom slogans. Mild clashes also erupted in Kaloosa and Ajar areas. Reports from Kupwara district said strict restrictions were imposed there to prevent pro-freedom rallies. All entry and exit points were sealed with barbed wire amid heavy deployment of forces. However, protestors defied curbs at Trehgam, Kralpora and Langate after Friday prayers and staged peaceful protests. SRINAGAR While Old Srinagar areas remained under tight curfew, intense clashes broke out after Friday payers at Khanyar, Fateh Kadal, Rainawari, 90-feet Road, Soura, Bemina, Chattabal and Kaka Sarai localities. Uptown areas of Srinagar also witnessed intense clashes between youth and forces after Friday prayers. Witnesses said people resorted to stone-pelting at Rambagh and Barzulla areas after forces detained four local youth. The clashes took an ugly turn when protestors surrounded a police official and hurled stones at him from all directions. The forces fired indiscriminately at the protestors, leaving at least 13 youth injured. The injured received pellet and tear-gas shell injuries. The clashes spilled over to Chanapora, Azad Basti, Natipora, Nowgam, Sanantnagar, Hyderpora and Peerbagh areas. Reports said heavy deployment of forces was made in areas including Chanapora, Azad Basti and Natipora to prevent stone-pelting during evening hours. Earlier in the day, six youth had sustained mild injuries in the forces' action in these localities. Reports of evening clashes also poured in from Hawal, Gojwara, Nowhatta, Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Nawabazar, Eidgah, Palpora, Noorbagh, Parimpora, HMT and Lawaypora areas. Residents of Wawoosa area of Rangreth on Srinagar outskirts alleged that forces resorted to vandalism by breaking windowpanes of at least 17 residential houses. 'The forces entered into residential houses and created havoc. They hit windows with bamboo sticks and gun-butts damaging the window-frames and later targeted windowpanes as well. The houses of Mukhtar Ahmed Wani, Faisal Showkat Wani, and Liyaqat Sidiq Bhat suffered intense damage in the forces' action,' a group of residents told Greater Kashmir over phone. 'NO FRIDAY PRAYERS AT JAMIA MASJID' Police didn't allow congregational Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of old Srinagar on the 11th consecutive Friday. All roads leading to the grand mosque were sealed with barbed wire while heavy deployment of forces was made at Nowhatta Chowk. While Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani continues to remain under house arrest at his Hydepora residence, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remains lodged in sub-jail Cheshmashahi. JKLF chief, who was arrested on July 8, was recently shifted to Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) at Humhama. Malik was first lodged in police station Kothibagh, then in Central Jail and also in police station Humhama. SOUTH KASHMIR A stringent curfew was imposed in South Kashmir areas even as at least 40 people sustained injuries in protests and clashes that erupted as forces foiled marches called by Kashmir's joint resistance leadership to different areas here. Curfew was enforced in all big and small towns-Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Tral, Awantipora, Bijbehara, Kakpora, Pampore, Kokernag, Achabal and Devsar in the wake of apprehensions of protests and marches after Friday prayers. At least 20 people sustained injuries in the forces' action on protesters in Soaf Shali village in Kokernag area. Locals said a pro-freedom rally was scheduled in the village after Friday congregational prayers, but army soldiers, CRPF and policemen raided the village early in the morning and went berserk. 'The forces barged into several houses, vandalized property, smashed windowpanes and beat up inmates,' they said. They said the forces' action triggered protests in the area but forces again lobbed numerous teargas shells and used pellet gun on people. 'Ghulam Nabi Sheikh (50) was among the injured being treated at SDH Kokernag. He had sustained teargas shell injury in his face,' doctors there said. A youth, Irshad Ahmad Gagroo, was also arrested by police, evoking protests. 'The forces closed all entry points to prevent people from marching towards Kokernag,' a local resident said. They said the forces also damaged two electricity transformers in the area. Protests and clashes erupted in Newa village of Pulwama district in which at least 10 people sustained injuries. 'The injured were treated locally,' they said. Three people sustained injuries in clashes that erupted in Chaudhrigund village of Shopian district. Reports of protest demonstrations also poured in from Aarihal-Pulwama, Tral and Drangbal in Pampore. 'People took out a march from Drangbal to Nambalbal,' they said. Earlier in the morning, protests were held against the arrest of three youths. Witnesses said people took to streets after announcements were made through public address systems of mosques, asking people to come out. They said three youths were picked up during a night raid by forces. Late evening reports said police detained 70-year-old Ghulam Hassan Sheikh of Deva Colony Janglat Mandi, Anantnag from his house after cops asked for his son who was not present there. CENTRAL KASHMIR Reports from Ompora area of Budgam district said forces broke windowpanes of dozens of residential houses, triggering clashes. At least eight people sustained pellet and teargas shell injuries in Charar-e-Sharief area when forces tried to quell a pro-freedom protest march after congregational Friday prayers. Witnesses said intense clashes broke out at Gulshanabad area of Charar-e-Sharief after Friday prayers as hundreds of people tried to march towards Chrar town under the 'Char Chalo' call given by the joint resistance leadership. Witnesses said forces fired indiscriminately at the protestors, injuring at least 11 with pellets and tear-gas shells. 'Two of the injured youth were hit by pellets in their eyes and were shifted to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment,' residents said. Witnesses said soon after the Friday prayers ended at the Charar-e-Sharief shrine, a peaceful pro-freedom protest rally was held which started from Ziyarat Chowk and ended at Gulshanabad Chowk. Mild clashes were witnessed at Khag area of the district as well. Reports of clashes at Beerwah town and Narbal areas also poured in. Peaceful protests were held at Khag, Shunglipora, Rathsun, Khansahab, and Chadoora areas, reports said. In Ganderbal district, authorities foiled 'Kangan Chalo' program called by the joint resistance camp. Forces, wearing riot-gear, were deployed at Chinar and Margund, the two ends of Srinagar-Leh highway. Witnesses said forces intensified checking and frisking at these places. Later, all main exit and entry points of Kangan market were sealed to thwart any protests. However, as the forces were withdrawn from the market, youth assembled in Jamia Market area and chanted pro-freedom and pro-Islamic slogans. Witnesses said forces were re-deployed again in the market after a group of youth resorted to stone-pelting at Kangan Chowk. Three protestors were detained after a group of policemen-in-civvies appeared near Sumo Stand Kangan and caught hold of them. Protests rallies were also held at Kurhama, Kondbal, Safapora, Beehama and Manigam after Friday prayers. However, they all dispersed peacefully. Wussan Market also witnessed deployment of forces. A youth Wasim Ahmad Sofi was detained from Kondbal in Manasbal area after police raided his Bakery Shop in the locality. Meanwhile, locals at Tawheed Chowk said they were first time allowed to offer Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid. However, residents of Beehama said they were not allowed to offer Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid for the 11th consecutive Friday.