‘Restrictions likely to continue today‘
Shopian, Sep 14: Authorities continued with curfew in Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama towns on Saturday even as people complained of shortage of essentials and baby food. A complete shutdown was observed in Islamabad (Anantnag) district and other areas of South Kashmir. Today was the eight day of curfew in Shopian since September 7 when four persons were killed in paramilitary CRPF firing.
Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has called for two-day shutdown against the Shopian killings.
Police and paramilitary CRPF men, wearing riot gears and armed with sophisticated weapons, were deployed in Shopian, Kulgam, Khudwani, Pulwama and Kakpora to enforce curfew, reports said.
Police and CRPF erected barricades, laid concertina wire and put in place armored vehicles at many places and people were not allowed to venture out. All the entry and exit points leading to towns and towards the residential areas were completely sealed.
However, protest demonstrations were witnessed in Haal and Shermal villages in Pulwama and Shopian districts. “Youth pelted stones on police and CRPF men who retaliated by resorting to aerial firing and tear gas shelling,” witnesses said.
Reports of protests and clashes were also received from Meemandar, Nagbal, Saidipora and Zainapora villages of Shopian district and later in the evening in the town when the deployment was withdrawn. In Redwani and Khudwani areas of Kaimoh, stone pelting incidents were reported amid heavy deployment of police and CRPF. Clashes occurred in the morning in Kulgam town following which strict curfew was imposed.
“Police and CRPF resorted to baton charge, aerial firing and lobbed tear gas shells to quell the protesters who retaliated by pelting stones,” witnesses said. The ding dong battles between police and protesters continued for some time.
There was no curfew in Islamabad and Bijbehara towns today. However, a complete shutdown was observed in the district with shops, schools and business establishments closed and traffic off the roads.
“In Seer area of the district, youth enforced shutdown by pelting stones and breaking the glasses of vehicles,” witnesses said.
Shutdown was also observed in Rajpora, Awantipora, Pampore and Tral areas of Pulwama district.
Official sources said that curfew will remain in force in Shopian town on Sunday too while it may be lifted from Kulgam, Kaimoh, Pulwama and Kakpora only after assessing the situation.
Curfew was re-imposed in Shopian, Kulgam, Kaimoh, Pulwama and Kakapora on Thursday following widespread protests that erupted after a driver, Muhammad Rafiq (28) of Saidapora village was shot dead by CRPF men at Gagran village. Two other persons including a girl were injured. Curfew was earlier clamped in Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama towns following the killing of four youth in CRPF firing at Gagran on September 7.
Meanwhile people of Shopian and Kulgam towns have been complaining that they are short of essentials, medicines and baby food. “The curfew is in place since last Saturday and we are facing acute shortage of essential items,” said Gulzar Ahmad of Shopian town.
The local druggists said that they are fast running out of life-saving drugs and there seems to be no way for them to get the stocks.
However, district administration maintains that there is no shortage of essentials, baby food or medicines in the district.
“We are facilitating the movement of patients to hospitals and even those who need to buy essentials and baby food,” said Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Bashir Ahmad Bhat.
He said that there people can contact the administration on the 24/7 helpline numbers in case of any grievance. “The administration will convey a meeting with senior citizens to address the grievances of the locals,” said the DC.
People in Kulgam town said that they are short of milk and baby food and the situation is getting worse.
“I was beaten to pulp by CRPF personnel after I ventured out to look for some baby food for my 6-month old son,” said Riyaz Ahmad, a resident of Kulgam town.
Publish Date: 15-09-13 10:20 AM
‘Restrictions likely to continue today‘