‘Protests, clashes against civilian killings at several places’
Shopian, Sep 12: A day after a civilian was killed and two others injured in CRPF firing in this South Kashmir district, curfew was re-imposed across the district on Thursday. Curfew was also clamped in Pulwama town while it continued in Kulgam town for the fifth consecutive day. However, despite the siege, protests ad clashes were witnessed in many areas of South Kashmir, including Shopian. Police and paramilitary CRPF men, wearing riot gears and armed with sophisticated weapons, were deployed in Shopian, Kulgam, Kaimoh, Pulwama and Kakpora townships and some other adjoining villages to foil any attempts of protests by locals, reports said.
They said police and CRPF had erected barricades and bunkers at many places and people were not allowed to venture out. However, protest demonstrations were witnessed in many villages in Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam. Protests were reported from Kulgam town late in the evening when deployment was withdrawn.
“Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans people came out at Shermal and Haal areas of Pulwama district. Police and paramilitary forces fired tear gas shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters,” witnesses said.
The residents of Shermal and Haal alleged that CRPF men later went berserk and barged into several houses, ransacking household goods and thrashed the inmates. Severe restrictions were also imposed in Kakpora, Litter and Rajpora areas of Pulwama district. A complete shutdown was observed in other parts of the district including Awantipora, Pampore and Tral as well as in Islamabad (Anantnag) district.
“Shops, schools, offices and Petrol outlets remained closed while traffic was off the roads,” reports said. “Heavy deployment of police and CRPF was put in place in Islamabad and Bijbehara to foil any attempts of protests.”
In Shopian town, interior masjids, according to reports, reverberated with pro-freedom slogans.
Gagran, Meemandar, Nagbal and Saidapora villages also remained under strict curfew.
Earlier, nocturnal protests rocked Shopian town against the killing of a civilian in Gagran village yesterday, witnesses said.
On Wednesday CRPF men from 14 Battalion stationed at Gagran camp opened fire on a driver of a private school bus when he was passing from the camp, killing him on the spot. He was identified as Muhammad Rafiq Rather (28) son of Ghulam Qadir of Saidapora village. He received two bullets in upper part of his body. Two others persons including a girl were injured in the firing.
“The firing was unprovoked as there were no protests going on in the area. Rafiq was going to visit his in-laws in Shopian town,” locals had said.
The CRPF had however denied the firing while police said they have registered a case and are looking into the incident.
The residents also alleged that the CRPF men of 14 Batallion detained four girls on Wednesday who were protesting against the killing of Rafiq but were later released.
On past Saturday four youth–Touseef Ahmad Bhat (17) of Baba Mohallah Shopian, Muhammad Yousuf Sofi, 25 of Durpora Zainapora and Tariq Ahmad Mir (24) of Wukai village of Kulgam district and a non-local resident who police claimed was a LeT operative–were shot by CRPF of the same Battallion.
Courtesy: Greater Kashmir