Kashmir Unrest Day 84: Protest marches, clashes continue amid curfew

– Funeral prayers in absentia held for Pak soldiers


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Srinagar: Authorities on Friday imposed curbs and curfew in many parts of Valley and old Srinagar city to quell pro-freedom protests while city centre Lal Chowk was sealed from all sides and it was made out of bounds for the common people.

The resistance leadership had called for Lal Chowk March on Friday. Roads leading towards Lal Chowk were sealed at different points including TRC, Amirakadal and Regal Chowk. The Valley remained shut for the 84th consecutive day with heavy security deployment in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir. All educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities remained shut while petrol pumps too remained closed.

Panic gripped in Batamaloo area of Srinagar city when government forces resorted to massive aerial firing during the wee hours on Friday. The bullets were fired to disperse agitated people who attacked police vehicles with stones. Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS during morning hours two police jeeps went deep inside Batamaloo making announcements that curfew has been imposed in the area. “People were out of their homes to buy essentials,” a resident of Danderkhah Batamaloo said. “Some shops had opened very early in the morning.”

“As soon as the two police jeeps reached Danderkhah, it came under stone pelting attack,” they said adding that in rage, police men resorted to intense aerial firing. The locals alleged that shortly after resorting to aerial firing, cops ransacked the shops and even caused damage to an auto rickshaw.

Reports said that strict curfew remained in vogue in the area throughout the day.

Reports from Srinagar city said that pro-freedom protest marches were taken out from many parts including Natipora, Barzulla, Rambagh, Dalgate, Abi Guzar, Safakadal, Nawab Bazar, Telbal and Soura. These protest marches were taken out shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers. In Barzulla, a large number of people offered funeral prayers in absentia for the two Pakistani soldiers killed on Wednesday night in Indian attack. In Dalgate a group of youth resorted to stone-pelting forcing police to lob few tear-smoke shells. Stone-pelting incidents were reported from Chatabal, Bagh-e-Mehtab, Mehjoor Nagar and Nowgam.

Reports said that Friday prayers were yet again disallowed at the historic Jamia Masjid for the twelfth consecutive week. Witnesses and reports said that a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces was made in the Nowhatta area where the mosque is located. A pro-freedom protest march was held by people at Budgam that culminated peacefully at District Court Complex. The participants while seeking resolution to Kashmir problem reiterated that the people will continue to fight till the issue is not resolved.

Reports from North Kashmir said that different parts of Sopore town witnessed violent clashes after Friday prayers. The pro-freedom marches turned violent at Jamia Masjid road, Hathishah Mohalla, Khankah Mola, Ningli and Muslim Pir area’s after government forces didn’t allow protesters to continue with their marches. Witnesses told news agency CNS that agitated youth pelted stones on the government forces who in retaliation fired tear-smoke shells. The clashes left many people wounded.

Reports said that a large number of people offered funeral prayers in absentia for the two Pakistani soldiers in Palhalan area of Pattan town. Hundreds of people shortly after Friday congregational prayers assembled in Jamia Masjid park and held prayers for the deceased soldiers. They offered special prayers for them as well. In Pattan town government forces resorted to tear-smoke shelling when protesters tried to assemble on Srinagar-Muzafarabad road. The agitated youth pelted stones on the Forces.

In Beehama Ganderbal, clashes broke out between protesters and the government forces while police dispersed the protesters by firing tear-smoke shells.

A pro-freedom rally was carried out in Aloosa Bandipora while at Gushan Chowk youth clashed with government forces for hours.

Peaceful pro-freedom marches were taken out in different parts of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district including Rohmu, Tahab, Aadigam, Aarihal, Achan, Navnagri, Panzgam, Wasoora and other villages. Peaceful protest marches were also carried out in various parts of Anantnag including Seer Hamdan, Hasanpora Arwani, Bijbehara, Seer Hamdan and Chee.

Protest march was taken out in Tral town also, though some youth resorted to stone-pelting, police exercised restraint and didn’t retaliate. Reports from Tral said that during nocturnal raid a youth was arrested and booked under Public Safety Act. The youth identified as Shakil Ahmed Bhat son of Muhammad Sultan, a resident of Dogripora was shifted to Kathua Jail. Locals said that three youth were also picked up from Noorpora Tral.

Dozens of devotees were injured after government forces allegedly fired pellets and teargas shells to disallow joint congregational prayers in north Kashmir’s Baramulla districton Friday.

Reports and witnesses said that people from several villagers were assembling at a school ground in Nadihal village when police and paramilitary CRPF personnel raided the village. The villagers were planning to offer joint congregational Friday prayers at the ground.

Dozens of people were injured in the forces’ action, with at least two youths being hit by pellets in their eyes. Both the injured were brought to the District Hospital Baramulla where from one was referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. (CNS)


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