Kashmir Unrest Day 89: Clashes, protests in North and South Kashmir

Srinagar: Life was affected in Kashmir Valley for the 89th consecutive day even though according to officials there were no curbs and curfew imposed in and part of the Valley. Shops, educational institutions and business establishments remained shut. 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. Large number of vendors was 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 places across Srinagar city.

Police used tear-gas canisters and pellets to disperse a large number of protesting youth who had blocked the Srinagar-Bandipora road during late hours at Panzinara area in the outskirts of Srinagar city. Clashes between police and protesters left many wounded.

At least three persons including a local reporter sustained injuries after the government forces fired pellets to disperse the protesters in north Kashmir’s Bandipora town on Wednesday. Clashes erupted in Gulshan Chowk area of the town after youths hurled stones at army cavalcade who resorted to aerial firing. In the mean time police reached the spot resulting in pitched battles, local sources said.

Police fired dozens of tear smoke canisters and pellets to disperse the protestors resulting in injuries to at least three persons. Eyewitnesses said that Army also resorted to aerial firing to disperse the stone-throwing youth.

Locals alleged that shortly after the clashes government forces carried out vandalism by ransacking houses and damaging property. They alleged that forces entered into many wards during the clashes and ransacked houses “without any reason.”

“They (forces) ransacked houses, damaged vehicles and looted belongings of the people,” residents alleged.

“Forces beat people, hurled abuses and smashed the windowpanes of residential houses as well,” residents of ward 3 alleged. They further alleged that the forces personnel without any provocation damaged their properties.

Clashes also broke out in Nowpora area of the district where groups of youth pelted stones on the government forces.

Reports from Kupwara said that government forces fired tear gas canisters on a rally of women. Earlier, youths resorted to stone pelting who were dispersed by police using tear-smoke shells. Witnesses said that shortly after the incidents of stone-pelting, a rally of women came out from Malik Mohalla main town. “But forces resorted to tear gas shelling and did not allow them to come on main road,” locals said.

Pertinently, on late Tuesday evening, many private vehicles came under stone pelting attack in Kupwara which were partially damaged, locals said.

A grenade was hurled at the residence of Shopian legislator on Tuesday night, police sources said. They said that the grenade exploded within the compound of the house of ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) legislator Advocate Mohammad Yousuf Bhat in Memander area of the district shortly before midnight. There was no report of any damage or loss of life, they said.

Around a dozen persons, including a policeman, were injured after government forces foil a pro-freedom rally in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Reports and witnesses said that clashes erupted in Arwani village of Bijbehara after forces foiled a proposed rally, allegedly vandalized houses and beat up inmates. Locals alleged that forces also set on fire paddy straws in the village. They said that government forces also damaged five power transformers. They said a policeman was also injured during the protests. Witnesses said that even after the government forces action, people held the pro-freedom rally that was led by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district president Mir Hafizullah. The rally culminated peacefully.  (CNS)


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