June 2017 News

Clashes Mark Friday Shutdown

9 June 2017
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad and Shafat Ahmad

Srinagar: Clashes between protesters and government forces were reported from different places in Kashmir on Friday even as authorities had imposed restrictions in some parts to foil protests in the wake of the valley-wide shutdown call given by separatists. Restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar and in Shopian town. In Srinagar restrictions were in place in the areas coming under jurisdictions of seven police stations including Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, MR Gunj, Kralkhud, Maisuma and Safa Kadal. Even the Friday prayers were not allowed at the Jamia Masjid. The area around the historic mosque was sealed by the authorities in view of the call for protests by the separatists. Head cleric and Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who delivers Friday sermon at the Jamia Masjd, was placed under house arrest at his Nigeen residence last evening The separatists had given a call for strike and peaceful protests against the killing of a youth by forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Tuesday. The strike and protests had also been called against the recent raids by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Valley. Despite the restrictions, clashes took place in Sarai Bala and Soura areas of Srinagar, Hajin in Bandipora district, Anantnag and Pulwama townships in south Kashmir and Sopore town of north Kashmir after Friday prayers. The civilian movement was restricted by blocking the streets with barricades and concertina wires in parts of downtown. Heavy deployment of Police and CRPF was also made to enforce restrictions. The commercial hub in and around Lal Chowk, including Maisuma and Amira Kadal areas, was sealed with barbed wires. In the nearby Sarai Bala area, clashes took place after JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was detained when he tried to lead a protest march against the killing of Adil Farooq Magray. Minor clashes erupted in the nearby Sarai Bala area after police detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik as soon as he came out of a local mosque after Friday prayers. Cops used teargas shells and pepper gas to disperse the protestors as they resisted Malik's detention. The JKLF chief had gone into hiding since Thursday evening. Meanwhile, Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under house arrest. Clashes also broke out in Soura area of the city after Friday prayers with policemen using tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. SOUTH KASHMIR In Shopian, two youth received minor pellet injuries during clashes with forces in main town after Friday prayers. 'We received two boys with pellet injuries but they were discharged after administering first-aid as the injuries were minor,' an official in the district hospital said. In Pulwama town, minor clashes erupted after Friday prayers with youth pelting stones at the forces and bursting fire crackers. The forces resorted to aerial firing besides using tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. In Tahab area of the district, intense clashes were reported which continued till late evening. In Anantnag town, clashes between protesters and forces erupted soon after Friday prayers. Protesting against the recent killing of a student from Shopian and also detention of Mirwaiz South Kashmir Qazi Yasir, youth clashed with forces at Reshi Bazar when they were stopped from marching heading towards Lal chowk. Three youth were injured during clashes with two of them receiving injuries in eyes as the forces responded with pellets, tear gas and marbles by the forces. One of the injured was hit by a marble in his eye, said an official of district hospital Anantnag. NORTH KASHMIR In Sopore, protesters clashed with forces after police fired teargas shells to stop them from taking out a protest march from Jamia Masjid. The clashes continued for nearly an hour before the protestors dispersed without any casualty being reported. In Kupwara, protests were staged outside the local Jamia Masjid after Friday prayers. Locals said youth resorted to stone pelting on forces who fired tear smoke shells in retaliation. They said the clashes continued for nearly two hours. POLICE VERSION Meanwhile, in its statement, police maintained that the situation remained peaceful across the valley 'barring five stray incidents of stone pelting'. 'After Friday prayers, stone pelting incidents were reported from Memender, near Mini-Secretariat in Shopian, near Reshmoual Sahib Shrine in Anantnag, Near Jamia Masjid in Kupwara and at main Chowk Sopore,' a police spokesman said. 'At these places miscreants in their attempt to disrupt the situation pelted stones on police and security forces deployment. The deployment used maximum restraint and chased the miscreants away. Near Reshmoul Sahib a boy identified as Faizan Ahmad Sheikh son of Gul Mohammad a resident of S.K Colony Anantnag received stone injury on his right eye. He was shifted to SMHS, Hospital Srinagar where his condition is said to be stable.'