A teenager was killed at Haal village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district when forces fired bullets and tear-gas shells at protestors on Friday, triggering massive anti-India and pro-freedom demonstrations. At least 200 protestors were injured in the forces’ action on anti-India protests held after congregational Friday prayers across Kashmir, reports and witnesses said.
The slain youth was identified as Shakeel Ahmad Ganai, 19, son of Ghulam Muhammad—a BA student—of Chandipora village of Rajpora, Pulwama.
“Ganai was hit by a bullet near his shoulder that had pierced through his heart. He died minutes after he was brought here at around 6 pm,” said a doctor at District Hospital Pulwama.
Witnesses said Ganaie was injured in clashes in Haal. With his killing, the death toll in the 49 days of widespread protests has mounted to 69 while over 7200 people have been injured—500 of them with serious pellet injuries in their eyes—during this period.
Locals said after Friday prayers, people were holding protests in Haal, Nikas and Aragam areas, when forces resorted to direct firing on protestors at Haal, resulting in serious injury to Ganai.
“Three more youth were hit with bullets and 17 others with teargas shells and pellets. They are being treated at different health facilities in the district,” witnesses said.
As soon as the word about Ganai’s killing spread in Rajpora and Pulwama, people instantly hit the roads and held massive protests.
Men, women and children shouted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, they said.
At least 12 people were injured in clashes that erupted in Noorpora village of Tral. Police, cops of Special Operations Group and Army cordoned off the village, reportedly after inputs about presence of some militants there. However, locals came out and clashed with forces and broke the cordon, witnesses said. They said 12 people sustained pellet injuries in the forces’ action and are being treated at local Primary Health Center and Sub-District Hospital Tral.
At least 50 protestors were injured in South Kashmir during the day and of these, 30 were injured in Pulwama district alone, sources said.
Intense clashes also erupted in Tahab, Newa and Banura villages where reports of injuries to few protesters also came in.
Four persons were injured after protesters defied restrictions and clashed with forces in Shopian town, after Friday prayers. Witnesses said four persons were injured in clashes at Baba Mohalla and Golchakri areas. One of the youths, who had suffered an injury in eye, was shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment. Five persons were injured during clashes in Sangam area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district. One of the injured has been referred to Srinagar.
Reports of protests and clashes also came in from Kaimoh and adjoining villages of Khudwani and Redwani areas in Kulgam district. Despite heavy rains, huge protest demonstrations were held in Bugam, Mohanpora, Yaripora, Frisal and Kujar areas after Friday prayers.
In Anantnag, pro-freedom demonstrations were held in Kabamarg, Bijbehara town, Dochnipora villages, Seer, Achabal, Dooru, Verinag, Kokernag and Qazigund. Pro-freedom congregations continued in various peripheral areas despite restrictions and rains. Huge rallies were held in Marhama-Sangam and Dehruna–Kokernag which were addressed by local pro-freedom leaders and religious clerics of various sects.
A strict curfew remained in place in Anantnag, Pulwama, Pampore, Kulgam and Shopian towns for 49th consecutive day. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength and spools of concertina wire were laid to foil attempts of protests and stop gatherings of people.
After Pulwama, political activists from South Kashmir’s Kulgam district publicly announced their resignation from mainstream politics on Friday. Meanwhile, witnesses said, six workers affiliated with Communist Party of India (Marxist) and National Conference announced their resignations that were read out publicly by Imams at Bogam village of the district.
CM’S EFFFIGIES BURNT
Reports said angry protestors set ablaze effigy of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at Rohomo village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district to register their protest against her “5% and 95% remarks.”
“Time will prove how many per-cent people are with the freedom struggle,” a group of angry youth at Rohomo said.
In Srinagar, youth set ablaze Mehbooba’s effigy at Koolipora, Khanyar in old Srinagar. Mehbooba had yesterday stated five per-cent people were “hijacking” the situation while resorting to stone pelting and rest of 95 per cent were for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue.
EIDGAH MARCH FOILED
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani and Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were detained when they tried to defy curfew and proceed towards martyrs’ graveyard at Eidgah Srinagar. Geelani was lodged in police station Humhama and Mirwaiz at police station Nigeen.
According to a Hurriyat (M) spokesman, Mirwaiz was later taken to an undisclosed location ahead of joint resistance leadership’s call for a march towards Army headquarters at Badami Bagh Srinagar on Saturday.
JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik continues to languish in Central Jail Srinagar. Meanwhile, senior Hurriyat leader Moulana Masroor Abbas Ansari tried to lead a march from Khanqah-e-Soqta to Eidgah, but was detained by police. President of Anjuman-e-Sharie Shian and senior Hurriyat leader Agha Syed Hassan Almosvi Alsafvi was also detained by police at Budgam while he was leading a march towards Eidgah Srinagar. The call for Eidgah march was given by the joint resistance leadership. Pertinently, all roads leading to Eidgah were sealed by forces. However, a massive protest rally was taken out from Nawakadal area of old Srinagar after Magrhib (evening) prayers which managed to reach the Eidgah. Witnesses said forces, however, intercepted the rally near Tibetan Colony and resorted to heavy teargas shelling. Dozens of tear-gas shells were fired at the protestors, who later dispersed. At least six people sustained injuries in the forces’ action, reports and witnesses said. The authorities had also sealed all the major roads in Kashmir district headquarters to prevent people from marching towards Eidgah. Forces had placed rolls of concertina wire at various points in city centre Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Dalgate and Karan Nagar areas to foil the Eidgah march.
NO PRAYERS AT JAMIA MASJID AGAIN
The J&K government disallowed congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of old Srinagar for the seventh consecutive Friday since July 8, evoking sharp criticism from Auqaf Jamia Masjid.