Srinagar: For the 35th consecutive day, authorities on Friday imposed curfew and restrictions across Kashmir to prevent protests called by the separatists.
Police said restrictions and curfew remained in force in all the 10 district headquarters of the Valley in addition to Handwara, Kupwara, Sopore, Trehgam and Qaimoh.
“These precautionary measures had been taken to maintain law and order in the Valley”, a senior police officer said here. On Thursday night, cellphone services were snapped across Kashmir once again in past one month. Earlier, the service was suspended after massive protests erupted against the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani on July 08. Confirming the development an official said that authorities suspended calling facilities on all mobile phones except post paid mobile phones provided by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Internet facilities on all mobile phones are already suspended. He added that the services were suspended to stop trouble mongers from disrupting peace in the Valley. All senior separatist leaders continue to remain under preventive detention in Srinagar for the last 35 days.
Separatists who extended shutdown till August 18 had asked people to start a Freedom Awareness Campaign letter to all Imams and Khateebs to be read in all Masjids after every Nimaz and paste this letter on the entrance of every Masjid. The Pro freedom leader had also called for peaceful protests in the nearby chowks and centres after every Nimaz. So far, 59 people including two policemen have been killed in the ongoing unrest that started on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujhadeen Commander Burhan Wani was killed in a South Kashmir village in an encounter with the government forces.
The congregational Friday prayers were not offered for the fifth consecutive week at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar due to curfew imposed by the authorities. All roads leading to the grand mosque in Nowhatta area of Srinagar were sealed by the forces.
Eyewitnesses told CNS that large number of people staged peaceful protest after Friday congregational prayers in different parts of Srinagar city including Chota Bazar, Guru Bazar and Saraibala. The protesters denounced the civilian killings in Kashmir and sought intervention from international community. Locals from Pamposh Colony Palapora Eidgah area of Srinagar city alleged that Para-military trooper and Jammu Kashmir Police caused immense damage to residential houses and shops after people staged a peaceful protest in the area. “The troopers beat up women and girls. Smashed windowpanes, damaged shops and looted goods from them. Not a single house was spared here,” a local from the Pamposh colony locality said.
Reports from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district said that hundreds of people defied curfew in Beerwah area and started raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Reports said that already deployed police and CRPF personnel resorted to tear smoke shelling on the protesters. Witnesses said that intense clashes between protesters and government forces left many people injured.
More than 15 protesters were injured in different areas of Pattan town in North Kashmir. Police used tear-smoking shells to disperse protestes at Palhalan and Pattan. Large number of people organized protest marches from Kalsari, Gohiwa, Sherpora, Zangam, Buran, Trikolobal, Nillah and Palapora areas and tried to proceed towards Pattan town.
Army personnel from 5 Rashtirya Rifles according to eyewitnesses went on a rampage in Arhama village of Ganderbal district when people tried to organize a protest march in the area. Witnesses said that Army personnel beat up people with iron rods and sticks injuring more than 35 persons. “They (Army) went on rampage and thrashed people irrespective of age and gender. They treated us like cattle and hit us with iron rods,” said an eyewitness to CNS. They added that people were saved from the wrath of the Army only after the intervention of police personnel from police station Lar Ganderbal.
Protests were also reported from Mirgund Pattan. Clashes and protests erupted in various townships of Bandipora district on Friday after the congregational prayers. In many areas forces resorted to tear smoke shelling to disperse the protesters. Stone throwing and protests were witnessed in Hajin soon after the congregational prayers. Protests were also held in Ajas and Sumbal areas. In Ajar police resort to heavy tear smoke shelling when protesting youth tried to attack a CRPF camp, however forces intercepted youth before reaching near the camp.
More than 25 persons were injured while some of them received pellets in different areas of South Kashmir in different protests. Violent protests occurred at Kulgam, Qazigund, Komouh and Dooru area of the Kulgam district while people organized peaceful protests at Dayalgam, Sarnal, Mattan and Anchidora area of Anantnag district. Reports said that army and Para-military troopers were deployed in strength to prevent protests in Anantnag. Reports said that peaceful pro-freedom protests were organized in almost every village of Kulgam district.
Meanwhile, joint resistance forum has taken a strong note of the reports where in Ambulances and hospitals staff is being stopped and harassed. They have appealed to people especially youth to strictly abide by the instructions issued by leadership. They further said that police and military barbarism is on its peak and there is huge inflow of injured to the hospital, so we need to help these wounded to reach the hospital as quickly as possible. Anybody damaging ambulances is an agent of government and police nab such elements, leadership said. (CNS)