Curfew in Kashmir: Firing, teargassing, protests

SYED YASIR/SHABIR AHMAD. Dated: 7/20/2013 12:31:12 AM

SRINAGAR/ ANANTNAG, July 19: Indefinite curfew was imposed in Kashmir Valley today during the wee hours of this morning. People at several places defied curfew restrictions and held protest demonstrations against the sacrilege act and killings in Gool.
Police opened fire and resorted to tear gassing at Khurmana-Ganderbal to disperse protestors. Four persons were injured, two of them seriously. At Qazigund the CRPF resorted to intense teargassing as the demonstrators attacked its camp with stones and tried to set it on fire. Three persons were injured and two of them critically in CRPF action. Angry protestors entered the Emergency Hospital and uprooted all the signboards carrying the photographs of chief minister Omar Abdullah. They also ransacked the ‘Gateway of Kashmir’ buildings at Lewdoora on Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The cavalcade of social welfare minister Sakina Itto also came under intense stone pelting at Samboora-Pampore. Her security guards fired several rounds in air. The minister was returned to Srinagar from Shopian.
Reports of teargassing, clashes and protests were also received from various parts of Valley. Over 70 persons were injured. Half a dozen vehicles also suffered damage.
The entire separatist leadership were either arrested or placed under house arrest at their respective residences. Those included Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Javid Ahmad Mir, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Bukhtar Ahmad Wani and others.
Geelani has given a three day strike call from today, Mirwaiz two days and Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah one day. JKLF had also called for a march towards Lal Chowk today, which was foiled by curfew and sealing of Lal Chowk. A spokesman of the party said attempts by it to take out the march was foiled by police and CRPF.
In Ganderbal, four people were injured when CRPF and police opened fire on protesters at Kurhama (Ganderbal) when they were protesting against the Gool killing. The incident occurred after Friday prayers when large number of people held a protest demonstration against Gool
killings. The police did not allow them to hold protest and they fired smoke shells and later fired towards the protesters. Mohammad Yousuf Hajam and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat who received serious injuries have been shifted to hospital. The condition of Hajam is said to be critical.
Forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling to quell the protesters at Qazigund, Pulwama, Achabal, Khudwani and Dooru townships. Three protesters, 20 policemen and 8 CRPF men were injured during the day long clashes. Srinagar-Jammu National highway remained closed for the second consecutive day badly affecting the Amarnath Yatra.
Reports said that hundreds of people amid heavy deployment of forces took to roads in Qazigund town and staged protests against the firing on civilians and sacrilege of holy Quran. The protesters fought pitched battles with the forces the whole day. In the evening protesters, mostly youth, attacked the CRPF camp in the town with stones and tried to set it ablaze. “The CRPF men resorted to heavy teargassing to disperse stone pelting youth resulting in the injuries to three of them. Two of the critically injured were rushed to Emergency Hospital Qaziund where from they were referred to D H Anantnag,” reports said.
They have been identified as Mudasir Ahmad Mir and Muneeb Ahmad Bhat.
Several policemen and CRPF personal, reports said, were also injured during the clashes.
The protesting youth earlier during the day ransacked the ‘Gateway of Kashmir’ buildings at Lewdoora on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. “The angry youth also tried to torch the buildings but the intervention of some elderly people saved the same from being torched,” said an eyewitness.
Violent protests and clashes between the protesters and forces also erupted at Achabal. Reports said that hundreds of people after the Friday prayers took out a procession and started marching through the streets. “The government forces tried to stop the protesters from marching ahead triggering clashes between the two sides. Several protesters and forces personal were injured during the fierce clashes,” said the eyewitnesses.
Reports of fierce clashes and massive protests were also reported from Khudwani.
“Amid deployment of government forces in the town youth took to streets and entered into clashes with them since early morning. Later after the Friday prayers violent protests broke out between the two after the forces tried to disperse the procession taken out by the people,” reports said. Reports of protests and clashes were also received from Dooru, Kakpora and Pulwama. Procession was also taken out at Mattan after the Friday prayers, however no reports of clashes were received.
Deputy Inspector General, south Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that at least three civilians and 21 policemen and 8 CRPF men were injured during the clashes in south Kashmir region.
“Police exercised maximum restraint in dealing with the protesters at all the places. Though at Qazigund protesters entered the CRPF camp and tried to set it ablaze but forces did not open fire. They only used teargas shells to disperse the protesters. Three civilians were injured after they were caught in a concertina wire while running away,” DIG said.
People also took to the streets at Palhallan Pattan and blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla highway and raised slogans against the killing. The protestors clashed with police and CRPF. Several people including some cops were injured in the clashes. Clashes continued for hours in
different parts of the town.
Stone pelting incidents have also been reported from Ompara, Rangreth, Manigam Ganderbal, Gagran Shopian, Batagund Tral, Naidkhai, Sumbal Sonawari, Qazigund, Papachan Bandipora, Narbal and other parts of the Valley.
One civilian was critically injured in police action at Naidkhai Sumbal. He was hit by a shell and was shifted to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura.
In Soura, the security guard of Station House Officer was critically injured when a stone hit him. The injured policeman was immediately rushed to nearby hospital.
The pedestrian and vehicular movement was blocked by laying spools of concertina wires and barricades in the city. In civil lines area of city, police was also deployed in Batamaloo, Tengpora, Qamarwari, Maisuma, Magarmal Bagh, Rambagh, Hyderpora and other areas.
At different places of Kashmir Valley including Jamia Masjid Srinagar, people were not allowed to offer Friday prayers.
Reports also said that protestors attacked police station at Pakharpora and during the clashes, several people were injured.



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