Six people ‘critical’ in Srinagar hospitals | Massive pellet firing, tear-gas shelling on protesters | Cops fire tear-gas at funeral of slain Budgam youth | Death toll touches 56 | ‘Dargah Chalo’ foiled with full force, stringent curfew | Forces barge into Kangan hospital, resort to teargas shelling, aerial firing | Huge pro-freedom rallies held in several areas | No Friday prayers at Hazratbal shrine | Geelani, Mirwaiz defy curfew, detained
Three more civilians including a teenager fell to bullets and pellets fired by government forces in Kashmir areas on Friday while more than 400 protesters sustained injuries due to bullets, pellets and teargas shelling in massive day-long clashes across the Valley, even as ‘Dargah Hazratbal Chalo’ call was foiled with full force and a massive clampdown. Two civilians were killed in central Kashmir’s Budgam district while another was shot dead in North Kashmir’s Sopore area. The condition of at least six injured is stated to be “critical” to “very critical.” Witnesses said over 100 protestors sustained pellet injuries in Sopore alone of which 25 were referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment. With the fresh three killings, the death toll in ongoing Valley unrest has touched 56 while the number of injured has mounted to over 4000 in just a span of 28 days.
Witnesses said people staged a peaceful protest in main town of Chadoora Budgam. “People from various areas had to assemble at Chadoora. But the forces had sealed entry points, triggering anger among people who resorted to protests and clashes with forces,” they said.
They said at various places, the angry protestors managed to march towards Chadoora where they tried to attack local police station with bricks and stones. Police resorted to pellet firing on protesters in which many were injured. As protests and clashes were on at various places in Chadoora, protestors from Loolipora and Watkulu tried to march towards Chadoora in large numbers. Witnesses said intense clashes broke out near J&K Bank Nagam where forces opened fire on protestors in which Muhammad Maqbool Wagay, 35, s/o Abdul Kareem of Loolipora, sustained bullet injury in his chest. Witnesses said he was referred to Primary Health Centre Nagam where doctors declared him as brought dead. Deputy Commissioner Budgam Mir Altaf Ahmad confirmed the death of Wagay, stating he was injured in clashes at Nagam. As the death of Wagay spread in the area, massive protests took place with women, children and youth hitting the streets amid pro-freedom sloganeering.
In yet another incident, at Khansahib area of Budgam, forces opened fire on protestors in which two youth sustained bullet injuries and were referred to Srinagar in a critical condition. Witnesses said one of the injured identified as Sameer Ahmed Wani, 21, S/o Noor Muhammad of Mulanaroo village of Takia-Farooq Khansahib succumbed to his injuries at SMHS hospital Srinagar. Official sources said Sameer had sustained bullet injuries in his abdomen.
As per the hospital sources, at least 87 people got injured in the forces’ action throughout the Budgam district, and among them 40 youth were injured in Chadoora alone, 32 at Nagam, and 15 from Magam, Beerwah, Aridna, Aripanthan, and Makhama villages. Medicos said most of the injured had pellet injuries.
Sameer’s funeral prayers were first held at Karangar Srinagar. Witnesses said police fired dozens of tear-gas shells at this funeral in which at least 20 youth sustained injuries.
“Two sisters of slain youth also got injured in the police action. Police fired at the tents of volunteers in SMHS premises, triggering chaos. Police wanted to take the body of Sameer into its possession, but volunteers and locals resisted the move,” a volunteer said. “Sameer’s body was taken away by locals and kept in a local mosque compound for nearly 15 minutes, after which his family members took it and proceeded towards Khansahib. Forces also damaged a hospital ambulance while four volunteers also sustained injuries in the police action.”
As Budgam was in state of mourning, another teenager was shot dead with a volley of pellets at Batpora area of Sopore. He was identified as Danish Rasool Mir S/o Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Kreeri Baramulla who was brought up at his maternal house at Batpora Sopore. Witnesses said youth from various areas had gathered to participate in a peaceful demonstration against the civilian killings, at Chanakhan area of Sopore. As the protestors started to march towards main town Sopore, police and CRPF men fired indiscriminately at the protestors, injuring at least 105 persons, they said. Among the injured, Danish sustained a volley of pellets, witnesses said.
“We shifted him to Sub District Hospital Sopore, where he succumbed. He was a class 12th student,” locals said.
They said of total injured in Sopore, 25 were shifted to SMHS hospital. Witnesses said body of Danish was brought to his native village Kreeri where he was laid to rest amid pro-freedom sloganeering.
At the SMHS hospital, authorities said overall 85 injured were brought to the hospital till evening and two of them are “critical.”
Residents of New Colony Charar-i-Sharief on Friday accused the police and CRPF men of thrashing residents and misbehaving with women following protests in the area.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, a local said at around 3:30 pm, scores of youth took out a protest rally in New Colony. However he said the protestors were chased away by police and CRPF personnel.
“The police and CRPF men then barged into houses in the backside of the colony and thrashed elderly persons. They also misbehaved with women and tried to molest a young lady,” the locals alleged. Later, the forces resorted to teargas shelling, resulting in injuries to many persons.
Block Medical Officers of Khansahib and Chadoora alleged that forces barged into the hospitals and resorted to vandalism.
“The forces also thrashed the medical staff,” they alleged.
Amid curfew and restrictions, protests and clashes erupted in various parts of Ganderbal district on Friday. The biggest pro-freedom rally was taken out by thousands of people from Badargund, Shahpora, Guzarbal, Dhobipora, Guzarbal and adjoining areas after defying curfew. The peaceful protest rally crossed heavy police deployment near police station Ganderbal that couldn’t control and stop the protestors who were shouting Azadi slogans. However, the procession was intercepted and convinced to return by the police authorities near SOG headquarters Ganderbal.
Protesters from Gadoora, Fatehpora and Chek tried to defy curfew and march towards Duderhama, but were intercepted by police near Chek after which clashes erupted between the two sides. Angry youth hurled stones at the cops who responded back with stones and teargas shelling. Similar clashes were reported from Safapora, Gutlibagh, Nunar, Wayil and Manigam.
Meanwhile, forces allegedly barged into Trauma Hospital Kangan and resorted to teargas shelling and aerial firing and also ransacked the property. As per reports received from Kangan, police—while chasing a group of protesters—entered the Trauma Hospital. While doctors, who were treating patients there, appealed the forces to spare them, the latter fired many shells of tear-gas, triggering pandemonium inside. “They fired teargas and bullets. We heard at least three gun-shots,” a doctor told Greater Kashmir over phone.
Doctors strongly condemned use of firearms inside the hospital, saying “it’s a war crime.”
“The entire staff at Trauma Hospital Kangan is extremely terrified and concerned about their safety,” doctors there said, requesting the district administration to take substantial measures to ensure hospital staff’s safety as also the safety of patients admitted there.
At least 60 people were injured in clashes that erupted in several South Kashmir areas on Friday even as curfew continued to remain in place in most of its towns for the 28th straight day. Dozens sustained injures in clashes in various areas of Shopian district. Forces lobbed teargas hells and used pellet guns to disperse the protestors. 30 people were injured in clashes in Narwa-Meemandar area of the district. “Two of the critically-injured who were hit by pellets in head were referred to SKIMS Srinagar. 10 people sustained pellet injuries in Imam Sahib area,” witnesses said. Clashes also erupted in Hillow, Barebugh, Adekher, Heerpora, Kannipora, Batepora, Bonegam, Shirmal and Habdipora areas of Shopian district. Violent clashes also erupted in Prichoo village of Pulwama district.
Six people sustained pellet injuries in Khudwani area of Kiamoh. “One of the youth who had sustained pellet injury in eye was referred to Srinagar.”
Meanwhile, massive pro-freedom rallies were held in many South Kashmir areas. A massive pro-freedom rally was also organized in Dialgam village. “People also took out a protest rally from Fatehpur to Kabamarg in which an effigy of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was set ablaze,” witnesses said.
In Mattan area of Anantnag, a pro-freedom rally was held at Tikibagh. Dukhataran-e-Milat (DeM) activists also organized an all-women rally in Bijbehara town. Hundreds of women participated in the rally at Shaheed Park at New House Colony Bijbehara, witnesses said. They said women were seen waving Pakistani flags and shouting pro-azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans.
Meanwhile, curfew continued in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Kakpora. Curfew was also re-imposed in Shopian, Awantipora and Pampore towns. Even in peripheral areas like Kokernag, Achabal, Shangus, Qazigund, Vesu, Dooru, Verinag, curfew was clamped. Authorities had erected barricades and laid concertina wire at various places and all the exit and entry points were sealed to stop people from marching towards Dargah Hazratbal in Srinagar. Protest demonstrations were however held in the evening in these areas, when the deployment was withdrawn.
Four youth received pellet injuries in Tral township during clashes with forces.
Reports said soon after Friday prayers, scores of youth armed with stones attacked a CRPF camp on the edge of the town, but forces present there retaliated with pellets and teargas shelling, leading to heavy clashes. A Health department official at SDH Tral told Greater Kashmir that four persons were treated with pellet injuries. Reports also said a massive rally was taken out from bus stand in Tral-payeen to Trali- Bala after Friday prayers. Anti- India and pro-Azadi slogans reverberated during the rally.
Meanwhile a bike rally was also organised from Dadsara village to Tral by youth in connection with Dadsara Chalo to be organized on Sunday. In Khrew area of Pampore, thousands of men, women, young and old assembled today in Khrew Eidgah. While people waved Pakistani flags and shouted anti-India slogans, pro-Pakistan and pro-militant ‘taranas’ also reverberated in the rally.
Witnesses said as four militants appeared in the rally, everyone tried to meet them, “but they left the venue without addressing people.” Minor clashes were also reported in Nablabal Pampore after Friday prayers.
Meanwhile Hizbul-Mujahideen posters surfaced outside mosques in Tral, asking people to stick to protest programme of joint resistance leadership.
A youth Reyaz Ahmed Hakeem of Zadi Masjid Sekidafar got critically injured when a tear gas shell hit on his head during forces’ action in the area. People were staging a peaceful protest after Friday congregational prayers when forces resorted to massive clashes. He has been admitted in the emergency ward of SMHS hospital.
Meanwhile, scores of people offered congregational ‘Asr’ prayers on road at Shivpora here. Special arrangements were made for women also. Soon after the prayers ended, people staged sit-in and chanted pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
Speaking on the occasion, the local Imam urged youth to not resort to any violence but register their protest against recent civilian killings in a peaceful manner. He also lauded the youth of the locality for carrying out voluntary relief camp at GB Pant hospital.
Friday congregational prayers were also offered on main road at Syed Abad Soiteng here. Soon after prayers, people took out a peaceful protest rally and raised pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
People from Habak assembled outside residence of MLA Hazratbal Asiea Naqash and proceeded towards to Dargah Hazratbal shrine. They raised pro-freedom slogans. Men, women, youth and children were the part of protest. Police however resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the protestors. Prayers were also offered on road at Nawa Bazar, Padshahibagh, Rambagh, Solina, Dalgate, Bemina, Batamaloo, Habba Kadal, Saida Kadal, Rainawari, Sanat Nagar, Rawalpora, Wanbal, Lasjan, Pantha Chowk, Athwajan, Batwara and other areas. Reports of clashes also poured in from various old Srinagar areas. Hundreds of people on Friday staged a protest at Khanqah-e-Sokhta Nawa Kadal after government forces foiled their attempt to march towards Dargah Hazratbal. Hurriyat (M) leader Masroor Abbas Ansari, who was leading the march, was detained by the forces. The people there tried to stop the forces from arresting Masroor Ansari but weren’t allowed to do so.
Pertinently, the authorities had imposed strict curfew in Srinagar district including areas falling under eight police stations of old Srinagar and Maisuma area of Civil Lines while barbed wire was placed on main roads in uptown areas including Lal Chowk.
Late evening reports said a torch procession was held at Pantha Chowk, Nowgam, Hydeprora, and other areas against the unabated civilian killings by forces.
Reports of protests and clashes were received from Khanyar area in late evening. Meanwhile, reports said a peaceful sit-in was staged by people at Abu Bakr Colony at Bypass Bemina.
A similar protest was held at Goripora, Sanatnagar. Reports said people from 13 areas had assembled at Mallbagh, Hazratbal after Friday prayers and staged a peaceful demonstration against the civilian killings. The protesters were stopped at Naseembagh where police fired dozens of teargas shells to disperse them.
Late on Thursday evening, forces resorted to indiscriminate firing of tear-gas shells at protestors injuring four people including a child, at Sonwar. As per reports 10 youth sustained pellet and tear gas shell injuries in Srinagar district during late-night clashes. Locals of Barthana, Qamarwari staged a silent sit in at Press Enclave at 10 pm, alleging forces’ atrocities in the area.
NO FRIDAY PRAYERS AT HAZRATBAL
Witnesses said all entry and exit points of Kashmir’s revered Dargah Hazratbal had been sealed with concertina wire amid heavy deployment of forces around the shrine. A senior Waqf Board Board employee said it’s for the first time in recent times that Friday congregational prayers were not allowed at Hazratbal shrine.
“I think in early ‘90s when militancy was at its peak, Friday prayers not allowed at the Hazratbal shrine. Today it has happened again,” he said.
Earlier, police detained Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and senior Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hassan after they tried to lead protest marches towards Dargah Hazratbal from their respective residences.
Meanwhile, Friday congregational prayers were not allowed in historic Jamia Masjid for the fourth consecutive Friday. The Auqaf Jamia Masjid has strongly condemned the continuous curbs on prayers at the Jamia, terming it as the “blatant religious interference.”
Amid strict curfew imposed by the district administration, Baramulla town and its adjoining areas witnessed massive pro-freedom protests throughout the day on Friday. In Sheeri area of Naarwav, at least 12 youths were injured during clashes that erupted after Friday prayers. Three youths who suffered eye injuries due to pellets were shifted to Srinagar hospitals, witnesses said.
Clashes erupted in the area after a group of protesting youths soon after Friday prayers, gathered outside Sheeri Training Centre (STC) and start pelting stones. Police from nearest police station immediately rushed to the spot and fired scores of teargas shells and pellets at the protesters. The clashes continued till evening. In Palhalan area of Pattan, at least eight people were injured during clashes that erupted after Friday prayers in the area. Three of the injured youths who had suffered pellet injuries in eyes were shifted to Srinagar hospitals. Clashes erupted after a group of youth tried to march towards the highway, but were disallowed by police, leading to clashes. Earlier, thousands of people offered Friday prayers at Eidgah Palhalan.
Later, a massive pro-freedom march was taken out from Eidgah which passed through the interior areas of Palhalan. An elderly person identified as Sonaullah Mir of Chak Seri Pattan was shifted to Pattan hospital after he was reportedly beaten by forces. In Old Town Baramulla, a huge car and bike rally was held this afternoon. It started from Drangbal area. The procession passed through various areas of old town and culminated in Qadeem Eidgah. Soon after Friday prayers at Qadeem Eidgah, a massive pro-freedom rally was taken out. Scores of women and elderly people were part of it. While chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesters passed through various areas of the town and later the rally ended peacefully at Azad Gunj.
Meanwhile, some youths in Iqbal Colony Baramulla pelted stones at an army gypsy, causing injury to some soldiers, reports said. Later in the evening, a group of youths gathered at Azad Gunj Bridge and Cement Bridge and started pelting stones at police. The cops fired several tear-gas shells and clashes were continued till evening.
At least 20 youth sustained pellet injuries at Zurhama, Awoora and Kralpora areas of Kupwara district.
Reports said 15 sustained pellet injuries, many of them in their eyes. A youth from Awoora was injured when a tear gas shell hit the left side of his chest.
Reports said 17 injured were referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.
As per reports, 30 youth and some policemen sustained injuries at Langate, Kralgund, Supar, Naghama, Gunarpora and other villages of Handwara. Reports said most of the youth were injured due to pellets.
Amid restrictions, a large procession was carried out in Bandipora district. The residents of Nowpora, Plan and Ajar villages assembled soon after congregational prayers and marched through the inner streets of the town. The protestors including women and children carried placards and banners eulogizing slain Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The march was taken out despite strict restrictions put in place by the police.
Reports of clashes were received from Ajar, Nowpora, Pazalpora, Mantrigam Papchan and Ajas. Two persons were injured in clashes at Ajar and Papchan respectively. The injured have been identified as Sajad Ahmad and Suhail Ahmad of Nadihal and Ajar areas respectively. Reports, which couldn’t be confirmed independently, said two persons sustained injuries in Mantrigam in police action. Meanwhile, heavy clashes also erupted between youth and government forces in Hajin area. Soon after Friday prayers ended, hundreds of protesters tried to march towards main town from Jamia Masjid Hajin, however, they were stopped by government forces. Forces fired dozens of tear-gas shells to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes. Scores were injured in clashes in Hajin town. Witnesses said forces lobbed dozens of tear-smoke and pepper gas shells to disperse the protesters, triggering more clashes. Reports said peaceful protests were held in Kaloosa, Ayathmulla, Aloosa, Ongam, Panzigam and Ashtengoo. Religious and pro-freedom taranas were also being played out in Masjids at several places.