November 2016 News

Day 128: Massive Protests In Sozeith Against Arrests, Police Excesses

13 November 2016
Rising Kashmir
Mansoor Peer

Srinagar: The life in Valley remained crippled for the 128th day due to separatists-sponsored shutdown while people in Sozeith in Central Kashmir's Budgam district staged massive protests against arrest of youth and police highhandedness. The shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley. Public transport was off the roads. However, private vehicles and three-wheelers were plying. A police official said there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in the Valley. He, however, said restrictions under Section 144 remained in force to maintain law and order and foil anti-India protests. The shops and business establishments opened in the evening as the separatists had announced a 15-hour relaxation in the strike from 4 pm to 7 am. During the relaxation period, shoppers thronged the markets and purchased woolen clothes and other items. The vendors had also put up their stalls at the weekly flea-market, also known as Sunday market, which witnessed huge rush of customers At least 92 people have been killed, more than 13000 injured and over 8000 arrested in the Valley in over four months of unrest triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. Meanwhile, people including men and women in Sozeith area of Narbal in central Kashmir's Budgam district today took to roads to protest the arrest of 12 persons and police highhandedness during nocturnal raids by police and paramilitary personnel. The residents said police and paramilitary personnel conducted nocturnal raids in the area and arrested at least 12 people. 'As people tried to come out of their houses to protest, the policemen ransacked the houses and damaged whatever came in their way. We were asked not to come out and they were beating others outside,' said a resident of Sozieth. Another resident alleged that a police officer carrying axe and damaging the windows of the houses and parked vehicles. They said the policemen ransacked at least 18 residential houses in the area. 'The cops damaged at least 18 houses. They broke valuable electronic appliances like LCDs, TVs and refrigerators. They even smashed parked vehicles,' they said. They alleged that even elderly men and women were beaten by the cops. The residents said among those arrested include some guests, who had come to meet their relatives. 'The cops resorted to intense tear gas, PAVA and Chilli gas shelling to terrorize the locals and force them to stay indoors,' they said. SSP Srinagar, Amit Kumar told Rising Kashmir that forces went there to arrest the wanted stone pelters. 'There were some miscreants who were hindering the traffic movement and setting the vehicles on fire,' he said adding the cops did not fire tear gases. He termed allegations levelled by the locals are baseless. A police spokesman said last night police arrested 12 wanted stone pelters-trouble mongers. 'During the police action, some miscreants pelted stones on the police party. A mild force was used to chase them away,' he said. The spokesman claimed that allegations of beating of women- damaging of property during the raid is 'baseless' and far from the truth.