MUZAFFARABAD: A complete strike was held in the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) on Friday as the authorities imposed a strict curfew and restrictions across the Valley to foil the indepedence march called by the pro-freedom Kashmiri leaders, while clashes broke out in several areas across Kashmir after the Friday prayers in which scores of protesters sustained injuries.
The strike was called by separatists including Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik.Large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed on roads and all the entry and exit points of the old city were blocked with concertina wires and other barricades, witnesses said.
According to local Kashmir media reports, scores of youth, chanting pro-freedom slogans tried to march towards the UN office to submit a memorandum but police and CRPF swung into action to disperse them. Clashes broke out as the police fired teargas shells to disperse and the youth in return pelted stones on them.
Deputy Commissioner (DC), Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone, said that the situation across Srinagar remained “peaceful” throughout the day. But scores of people sustained injuries during the clashes between youth and forces in different areas across Kashmir.
As per the KNS correspondent, 10 persons including two students sustained injuries in the Kupwara district during clashes that broke out after the Friday congregational prayers.“Four civilian protesters sustained injuries in Trehgam, Kupwara, after forces and youth clashed. Four persons sustained injuries in Gushe Kupwara after forces opened fire on the protesters in the localities. Two others were injured in the Kuligam area of Lolab. Some among the injured persons were shifted to Kupwara hospital while some were referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital,” he said.
Reports of protests were also reported from other Kupwara areas including Lalpora, Regipora, Trehgam, Gushe, Hatmulla, Kawari, Nagri, Vadhpora and Kralpora.As soon as the Friday congregational prayers ended in the local Masajid, people staged protests against the civilian killings in Kashmir.
Clashes erupted between the youth and forces in Delina area of Baramulla during which two persons sustained injuries. “One among the injured was shifted to Srinagar’s Bone and Joint hospital while the other has been shifted to Sub District Hospital (SDH) Baramulla,” witnesses said.
Clashes also erupted at some places in the Bandipora district.Deputy inspector General Police (DIG), North Kashmir Range, Uttam Chand, told KNS that barring minor stone pelting incidents, the situation across north Kashmir “remained peaceful”. Clashes also broke out at several places in south Kashmir after Friday’s congregational prayers. Atleast three youth were injured in the Shopian district in the clashes, police said.
Deputy Inspector General were injured in Shopian district in the clashes, police said. Deputy Inspector General of Police, south Kashmir Range, Ghulam Hassan Bhat told KNS that minor clashes between forces and protesters erupted at several places in south Kashmir.
He said that clashes took place in Sangam, Naina, Srigufwara, Bijbehara, Keegam, Kakapora, Tahab and Chodrigund in Pulwama. The senior police officer said that two protesters received minor injuries in legs or back due to pellets in Imam Sahib in Shopian district. “They were treated in local hospitals and are stable now,” he said.
On the reports of pushing by police in river Jehlum of two youth from Sangam Bridge on Thursday, the DIG said that the youth were protesting and police chased them away to disperse them. Police did not fire teargas shell or pellets on them, he said.
“One of the youth jumped on the bank of the river on his own. He was injured in his leg and was shifted to Bones and Joints hospital. No policeman pushed him into the river. Had the youth been pushed into the river, his clothes could have been wet. But they were dry when he was rushed to the hospital,” he said.
Meanwhile, a protest rally was held at Sathra Morr in Muzaffarabad on Friday against the massive human rights abuses by Indian military and Paramilitary forces in India Held-Kashmir (IHK).
The people belonging to different walks of life were holding banners and placards in the rally inscribed with slogans against Indian brutalities in held valley. Later, the participants also marched towards the office of the United Nations Observer Mission in Muzaffarabad, where they handed over a protest memorandum.
The memorandum demanded of the world body to play its due role to stop India from massacre of Kashmiris struggling for their internationally recognised right to self-determination.
—Originally published in The News