March 2018 News

Kashmir Shuts, Shopian Chalo Foiled

7 March 2018
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Authorities on Wednesday foiled the 'Shopian Chalo' march by imposing restrictions in the Downtown here and more strictly in Shopian district, while Kashmir observed a complete shutdown against the civilian killings and the shifting of Kashmiri prisoners including the incarcerated chairman of Muslim Deeni Mahaz Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo and Muhammad Shafi Shearati, both facing lifer, to outside jails. The call for the shutdown and Shopian chalo for offering congregational condolence to the families of four civilians killed by the army at Pahnoo Shopian recently, was given by Kashmir's Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. Geelani and Mirwaiz defied their house detention and tried to proceed towards Shopian, however, they were disallowed by the police. JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested on Monday and lodged at Central Jail Srinagar on a 6-day judicial remand. Shutdown across Kashmir : Kashmir observed a complete shutdown as the strike call evoked total response. In the city centre Lal Chowk, all shops and commercial establishments remained closed while as very thin public and private transport plied on the roads. Reports from various districts revealed that complete strike was observed across in northern, southern and central districts of Kashmir. It may be recalled that the government decided to shift the Kashmiri prisoners to Jammu jails after the escape of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant commander Naveed Jhat alias Abu Hanzallah. The LeT commander had fled during a medical checkup at SMHS hospital in Srinagar, on February 6. At least 24 prisoners have been shifted to Jammu prisons during the past one month. Shopian March foiled: The government imposed strict curbs in majority of areas in the Downtown here to prevent any possible march to Shopian. This time, however, there was a mild deployment of forces in many areas except Nowhatta. A witness said that curbs were imposed in Khanyar, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta and Maharaj Gunj. Another witness said that barricades and mobile vehicle check posts were set up at various points on the Srinagar-Jammu highway to keep a tight vigil on the possibility of any march towards Shopian. In Shopian, a source in the police said that elaborate security arrangements were put in place 'Police and CRPF were deployed at length in various areas in Shopian that include Pahnoo, Trenz, and Pinjoora besides main town remained completely sealed,' he said. In Kulgam, Pulwama, and Anantnag, massive deployment of forces was ensured to prevent any large gathering. Four civilians and two militants were killed at Pahnoo area of Shopian recently in the army firing. The army had initially claimed that the civilians killed in the incident were over ground workers but later stated that 'investigations will prove the role of civilians and their links with militants.' Meanwhile, pro-freedom slogans were raised in many Masjids across Shopian, asking people to come out and take out rallies towards main town Shopian. A witness said hundreds of villagers from Pinjoora and Pahnoo hamlets of Shopian staged massive protests on second straight day. 'The villagers assembled near Pahnoo-Pinjoora road and demanded the immediate removal of newly established army camp at Pahnoo,' he said. 'Protesters including women and children said that they will continue the ongoing strike till the army camp is removed from their village.' Mobile internet continued to remain suspended in Pulwama and Shopian districts for the third consecutive day. Seven injured in Shopian clashes: Seven persons, including a girl were injured in clashes in Shopian district, on Wednesday, a witness said. He said that youth from various areas of Shopian fought pitched battles with government forces at Safan Naman, Batapora, Bongam, Memander, Gagran and Goal Chowk. 'Youth hurled bricks and rocks at the forces triggering violent clashes, 'the witness said. 'The forces, who were deployed in strength, responded with teargas shells and pellets. In the clashes, at least seven persons, including a girl were injured. The injured were moved to district hospital Shopian,' the witness said. He identified the injured persons as Zubair, Umer, Arsalan, Showket, Aijaz and a girl. 'Three of the injured have pellet injuries in the eye,' said a doctor. He said, 'Two have injuries in leg and face.' One of the injured identified as Faizan Ahmed of Shopian was rushed to SMHS hospital Srinagar for specialized treatment. 'He has a pellet injury in his right eye,' a doctor said. 'Arsalan, who is one among the injured, is the brother of active Hizb militant Zubair Turray. He has pellet injury in his right eye,' the doctor said. Geelani decried curbs : Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani defied curbs and tried to proceed towards Shopian. He, however, was barred as police blocked the road outside his residence with the rolls of concertina wires. Talking to people outside his residence, Geelani strongly condemned the ruling regime for 'forcibly disallowing' the JRL's peaceful march to Shopian. 'Repeated curbs, restrictions, arrests and detention of resistance leadership and activists is a classic case of colonial attitude,' said Geelani. He said that everyone is aware that the people in southern areas of Kashmir have suffered immensely since past several years and continue to bear the 'severe brunt.' Geelani said it was unfortunate that civilians are first killed and later branded as OGWs. 'This way, forces are carrying genocide and this is unacceptable in civilised societies,' he said. 'Hundreds of people mostly our youth have been killed, while even children and women are not spared. Every second day, a cordon-and-search operation is launched in some area and the people are tormented and harassed and when they protest against it, they are fired upon, killed, injured or arrested.' Lashing at state authorities, Geelani said they have failed to secure and provide safety to civilians. 'We demand eviction of forces camps from civilian areas,' Geelani said that these camps are a source of nuisance and harassment for locals. 'We support demand of people of Shopian for removal of these camps which have come in every nook and corner of south Kashmir,' he said. Geelani demanded immediate shifting of prisoners back to Kashmir and said that detainees are being shifted to outside state and termed it unjustified and inhuman. Mirwaiz defies house arrest: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq defied his house detention to proceed towards Shopian. He, however, was detained by the heavy contingent of police outside his Nigeen residence and lodged at police station Nigeen. He was later released. Talking to media persons before his detention, Mirwaiz expressed deep anguish and strongly condemned the massacre in Pahnoo, Shopian and reiterated that as long as New Delhi pursues a 'hard-line military solution to the Kashmir issue and for that purpose provides its armed forces a legal cover of immunity from accountability and prosecution by draconian laws like the AFSPA bloodshed of Kashmiris will continue unabated. 'Under this law, the unbridled powers that the forces enjoy, entire Valley has been witnessing repeated mayhem and massacres in which people including teenagers' children and women become targets as streets are turned red with blood,' Mirwaiz said. 'As long as there is not a shift in New Delhis approach in dealing with the Kashmir issue, these black laws like AFSPA, PSA, and Disturbed Areas Act will continue to be there and will keep extracting a huge cost of life and limb from Kashmiris, as we are witnessing each day.' Mirwaiz said, 'Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and her ilk, should at least stop lying to the people through their glib talk of inquiries, commissions, courts, justice, logical conclusions and so on, as there is no hope of any such thing for Kashmiris , in the system they represent.' Mirwaiz said that instead, head of the State Mehbooba Mufti should make a speech in the Assembly and the Indian Prime Minister Modi in the parliament that Kashmiris should not expect any sort of justice from the legal system in place and that for them, doors of justice stand closed. 'In such a grave situation, the people of Kashmir can only pin their hopes on world human rights bodies and organizations to highlight our plight and help us get justice,' he said. 'If the rulers do not stop this genocide of Kashmiris at the hands of forces and keep pushing people to the wall, people will have no option but to hit the streets as in 2008 and 2016.' Mirwaiz also strongly criticized the State government for shifting prisoners including Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo and Muhammad Shafi Shariati besides dozens of others from Central Jail Srinagar to various prisons in Jammu. 'The plight of political prisoners most of who are illegally detained is a matter of concern for all of us,' he said. CRPF man injured in Bandipora clashes: A paramilitary CRPF man was injured in the clashes at Bandipora, a witness said. He said the CRPF man was injured when youth at near Papchan camp on the outskirts of Bandipora town. Block Medical Officer (BMO) Bandipora, Syed Rehman confirmed that a CRPF trooper was brought to the hospital in an injured condition. 'He was hit by a stone on his face injuring his nose and teeth,' he said. The injured CRPF trooper was identified as SN Mishra. Train Services remain suspended: Train service between Banihal and Baramulla remained suspended for the third consecutive day. An official said that suspension of train services is a precautionary measure. Protests at Kashmir University: A witness said that the students staged a peaceful protest inside Kashmir University campus. The students were holding play cards which read: 'Stop innocent killings.' The protestors later dispersed peacefully, the witness said. Separatists under detention : Majority of separatist leaders were either placed under house arrest or taken into preventive custody. The leaders who were arrested include Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Imtiyaz Haider, Engineer Hilal War, Javaid Ahmed Mir, Hakeem Abdur Rashid, Bilal Sidqiue and others.