.:.Injury count mounts; police highhandedness continue on people.:.
Srinagar, July 20: Curfew remained in force for the second day Saturday in all major towns of Kashmir to prevent protests against BSF firing in Ramban district that left four persons dead and over 40 others injured.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people in Humhama area of Srinagar and Bandipora district of north Kashmir Saturday staged protest demonstrations against the alleged highhandedness of police and paramilitary forces. A youth was critically injured in Bandipora after being allegedly beaten by army men. Rising Kashmir report on day 3 Ramban aftermath.
Eyewitnesses said people- including men, women and children- took to streets in Humhama area after some paramilitary personnel barged into some houses and damaged the window panes on Saturday night.
“Nearly a dozen paramilitary personnel entered our houses and ransacked the household goods. The troopers were angry after people in the area lodged peaceful protests on Friday over the civilian killing in Ramban and desecration of Quran,” said one of the local residents, wishing not to be named.
The residents alleged that the troops again barged into the residential houses in the morning fuelling anger among the people.
Following the highhandedness of troops, people were urged to come out of their homes on loudspeakers to protest against the unwarranted action of troops. Immediately after the announcement, eyewitnesses said, hundreds of people poured on the airport road and raised pro-freedom slogans.
The protesters blocked the airport road for several hours due to which all the traffic leading to the airport was disrupted. To disperse the protesters, forces resorted to lathi-chrage and fired dozens of tear smoke shells. Several people were reportedly injured in the action.
Although the traffic on the airport road was restored after few hours, protests continued for some time as people wanted erring troops be punished.
Meanwhile, many separatist leaders including chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remained under house arrest while JKLF Chief Yasin Malik and Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah remained in police custody.
“Aga Syed AL-Hassan Al-Mousvi, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Moulana Masroor Ansari, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Zaffar Akhbar Bhat, Salim Geelani and Chaudary Shaheen continued to remain under house arrest,” a Hurriyat (M) spokesman said.
National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan also continued to remain under house arrest.
At least five people, including three women, were injured as forces fired upon protestors in Khudweni area of Kulgam district. Meanwhile, curfew remained imposed throughout the major towns across South Kashmir.
According to reports, people, including women and children, defied restrictions and came out in large numbers and assembled near the main mosque in Khudweni area.
“The people were sloganeering when police and CRPF men opened fire injuring five people, including three women. The injured, including a mother daughter duo, have been shifted to Anantnag for treatment.”
The injured were identified as Shahnawaz Ahmad Shah, son of Ghulam Muhammad of Ghati of Redwani, Shaheena, daughter of Akbar Wani of Khudwani, Haneefa , wife of Qayoom Dar of Khudwani, Rukhsana, daughter of Qayoom Dar of Khudwani and Rouf Ahmad Kumar, son of Muhammad Ramzan of Laram Ganjipra.
Doctors at District Hospital Anantnag said all the injured have fire arm injuries, while one of the injured, Shaheena has been shot in the chest.
In Qazigund area, following Friday’s violence, deployment of forces was increased and a strict curfew was imposed in the area.
In Pulwama district though restrictions remained in place, youth clashed with the forces at some places. “There were no reports of injuries to anybody.”
In Anantnag district, curfew remained imposed in most parts. “Police and the CRPF were deployed in full force in main town Anantnag, Bijbehara, Mattan, Dooru and Khannabal areas.”
People from Anantnag town alleged that some troopers entered residential houses in Reshi Bazar area and beat the residents besides ransacking the household goods.
Shopian town and its peripheries too witnessed sporadic clashes throughout the day. Some youth pelted stones at Deputy Commissioner’s office in Shopian town, “Police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors,” eyewitnesses said.
Clashes continued on the second consecutive day in Bandipora and Baramulla districts. In Bandipora town, sporadic clashes broke out after groups of youth defied restrictions and pelted stones at police and CRPF men at Main Chowk, Gulshan Chowk, Pampchan and Puthishahi. Police and paramilitary men used tear gas shells in retaliation to disperse the youth.
In Watpora Bandipora, scores of youth were allegedly beaten by army men. One of them sustained critical injuries and was rushed to SKIMS for treatment.
The injured was identified as Asif Ahmad Sheikh of Kunoosa. At least nine youth were arrested by army after stones were pelted at the vehicles of 27 RR. They were ruthlessly beaten and later handed over to Bandipora Police. In Kunoosa, Aashtingoo and Aloosa, army arrested at least six youth before handing them over to Aloosa Police later.
Residents of Kunoosa said army barged into their houses and went berserk. The army men smashed window panes of houses adjacent to the highway.
In Baramulla town of north Kashmir, minor clashes were witnessed after some youth defied restrictions and resorted to stone pelting at police and paramilitary men. The forces resorted to lathi charge and tear gas shelling to disperse the youth. Minor clashes were also reported from Sopore town.
Meanwhile, curfew, which was imposed in the wee hours on Friday, remained in force in all areas of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal and Bandipora districts and Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, Bijbehara and Sopore towns.
Police and paramilitary CRPF men were deployed in large numbers to enforce curfew. Barricades and spools of barbed wires were erected at many places to block the roads and lanes.
According to police spokesman, the situation throughout Kashmir valley remained peaceful. “However, stone pelting was reported from Tahab Chowk and Newa in Pulwama, Cement Bridge and Azadgung in Baramulla, Papchan, Gulshan Chowk and Naidkhai in Bandipora, a couple of places in Shopian, Khudwani in Kulgam and Galwanpora Humhama in Budgam,” he said.
“The deployments exercised maximum restraint. 31 police and CRPF men and eight civilians were injured. All the injured are stable,” the spokesman added. (With inputs from Muhammad Suhail and Javid Ahmad)
Courtesy: Asim Mohiudin Rising Kashmir.