Kashmir : Protests, processions and pellets amidst clashes

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SRINAGAR, Oct 4: Normal life was paralysed for the 88th consecutive day today in Kashmir due to a general strike, called by separatists. Security was beefed up across the Srinagar city following intelligence input that militants were planning a big strike. This led to thorough checking of increasing number of private vehicles by police and para-military forces on roads throughout the day.

Shops, other business establishments and educational institutions continued to remain closed. A greater movement of private transport was seen in some areas of Srinagar city. However, there was no such greater movement in the areas falling in the outskirts of city. A number of vendors were seen occupying the pavements and roadsides in different parts of city including Polo View, Batamaloo, Hari Singh High Street and Jahangir Chowk. However, life in downtown city and other parts of the Valley, including district headquarters and towns, remained affected due to the shutdown call of the separatists.

Amid increased movement of vehicles on roads, government forces were seen frisking commuters at different inter-sections in Srinagar city. The government forces were seen stopping the vehicles at Abdullah Bridge, TRC, Dalgate, Hyderpora and other parts of the city. A police official said that it was a routine exercise. However, sources said that they had the inputs about the movement of militants in Srinagar city.

Reports said that unidentified persons set ablaze an auto-rickshaw near Saidakadal area of Srinagar city for allegedly violating the strike-call given by separatists. Reports added that the auto-rickshaw (JK01H-7913) carrying passengers was stopped by unknown persons and set on fire. Police rushed to the spot to assess the situation. Another auto-rickshaw was set on fire in Babademb area of the city.

A police official said that they have registered a formal case and investigation has been taken up to arrest those responsible for the act.

Earlier on Monday evening, a two year old girl suffered head injury after unknown persons pelted stones on the car in which the baby along with her mother were driving. The girl was immediately shifted to Florence Hospital where from she was referred to SMHS hospital. The locals angered over the incident, chased away the protestors. Locals said that the youth were enforcing shutdown and stopping bikes and private cars, when one of the youth targeted the vehicle in which baby girl was present.

Stray stone-pelting incidents were reported from Batamaloo area of Srinagar city where tow protest marches were taken out on Tuesday. Students organized a protest condemning the government action to conduct examinations later this month. Police swung into action and fired tear-smoke shells to disperse students who were raising pro-freedom slogans.

Protest was also reported from Old Barzulla town of the city where agitated youth burnt tyres on the roads and raised slogans.

On the call of the separatists, a women’s protest was also taken out in Batamaloo area that was attended by a large number of females. Carrying placard and banners seeking resolution to Kashmir issue, the women protesters amid pro-freedom slogans took out a march that culminated peacefully.

Separatists had asked women to stage protests across Kashmir and in wake of the call, a number of protests were reported from different parts of Valley. Reports said that processions were taken out in Salaoora Ganderbal, Bijbehara Anantnag and Bogam Kulgam. The protesters amid slogans demanded an immediate end to the use of pellets, killings and ransacking of private property. At Saloora, police used tear-smoke shells to break-up the women’s protest.

Police fired tear-smoke shells to disperse women protesters in Tral while a women’s protest was also staged in Dadasara area of the town.

Clashes broke out between protestors and forces in Watpora, Ashtangoo, Qazipora and Putushay villages of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

Witnesses and reports said that many people received injuries after men in uniform fired pellets and burst teargas shells to quell protesters. The injured were shifted to nearby health centres for treatment.

Clashes were also reported from Papchan area of Bandipora district. Residents of Qazipora, Putushay and Warpora villagers alleged that CRPF men went berserk in their areas barged into the houses and broke the windowpanes of many houses and also fired teargas shells. A police official refuted the allegations of the locals saying that CRPF chased away only stone-pelters and no civilian was touched.

Meanwhile, according to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir, situation across the valley remained by and large peaceful today. “However, two incidents of arson were reported from Srinagar and a stray incident of stone pelting was reported from Bandipora,” the statement said.

According to the police statement, normal movement of people and vehicular traffic was observed in Srinagar. “Shops in some parts of the city were open besides a large number of vendors were also on the streets. Scores of vehicles were seen plying in the main towns and on the inter district roads of the valley,” it said.

The statement said that the miscreants in their attempt to disturb the situation set on fire two auto rickshaws, one at Bhagwanpora in the jurisdiction of police station Kralkhud and another at Rainawari near Polytechnic College Saidakadal in Srinagar. “Police has taken cognizance and launched search to nab those involved in these crimes,” it said.

The statement said that in its drive to curb the activities of the miscreants, police during the past 24 hours arrested 57 such individuals involved in various offences of creating disturbances in different part of the valley.

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