Srinagar: At least seventeen people, including five policemen on Wednesday were injured in fierce clashes, even as state administration imposed curfew in several districts of the Valley to thwart the proposed march to the UN office, called by Hurriyat Conference (M) and supported by parallel faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Reports and officials told Press Bureau of India that curfew was imposed in Srinagar, Pulwama, Kakapora, Pattan, Delina, Palhalan, Tangmarg, Kunzer, Sopore, Kralpora, Trehgam, Handwara Kulangam and Chotipora to foil the proposed march to United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) Sonwar office, called by Hurriyat factions. Most of the pro-freedom leaders, including Chairmen of parallel factions were placed under house arrest yesterday to foil their programme.
In Srinagar, curfew was strictly enforced to scuttle the Hurriyat march. Hundreds of paramilitary CRPF and police, equipped with riot gear and automatic rifles patrolled the deserted lanes, by lanes, roads and highways of this capital city.
Posh Sonwar locality in Srinagar city, housing the UN office was cordoned off by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troops and police from all the directions early this morning. The roads leading to the venue were sealed off with barricades and barbed wire, while armored vehicles were placed on the entrance.
Strict curfew was also enforced in all the three districts of North Kashmir.
Press Bureau of India correspondent from North Kashmir said that CRPF troops and police had erected check points at Sangrama, Khanpora, Gantmulla, Sheeri, Pattan, Narbal and other areas along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway to foil any attempt of people to march to the UN office.
Despite curfew and restrictions, clashes broke out between protesters and the forces in twin districts of Bandipore and Baramulla.
Reports said hundreds of people mainly youth took to streets this morning at Pallan area of Bandipore and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. Chanting â€œWe want freedom,â€ â€œIslam Zindabad,â€ â€œGo India Go Back,â€ and other anti-India slogans, the people were protesting against the alleged excesses by forces following pro-freedom demonstrations in the area last evening. The protesters tried to march towards the Gulshan Chowk, main town. However, CRPF and police deployed in advance intercepted the protesters near Khadim market. Forces resorted to cane charged and burst teargas canisters when the protesters offered stiff resistance and tried to march to the main town. The police action turned the protesters furious. Amidst chanting of pro-Azadi slogans, the protesters pelted rocks and stones on the forces sparking off fierce clashes.
The forces fired from pellet guns in a bid to disperse the protesters. At least 12 people, including three policemen suffered serious injuries in the clashes. Five people, including an eighty-year-old man Ghulam Rasool Shehri and his son Ashiq Ahmad were also arrested by police.
â€œCRPF and police have made our lives miserable. Last evening, they barged into residential houses and thrashed inmates mercilessly. They also misbehaved with women folk. We took to streets today to protest their atrocities, but they used brute force to break up our peaceful demonstration,â€ Mushtaq Ahmad, a protester said.
Soon after the incident, clashes spread to Nadihal, Nowpora, Nebarpora, Ajas and other areas of the district. At many places troops and police used force to quell the pro-freedom demonstrators.
At least four people were injured in clashes between forces and protesters in neighboring Baramulla district.
Reports said groups of youth this morning appeared at bus stand and held pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. Besides shouting slogans in favor of Independence, the protesters also pelted upon forces with rocks and stones. At least four people, including two cops suffered wounds in the pitched battles that continued for some time. One of the injured policemen has been identified as Ghulam Rasool.
In Palhalan, CRPF troops and police allegedly went on rampage after unknown persons hurled a few stones on their vehicles on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway last evening.
Reports and eyewitnesses said that a heavy posse of forces appeared in Palhalan villages and allegedly went on rampage. The forces allegedly barged into several residential houses, thrashed inmates, ransacked house hold goods and misbehaved with the women folk. The forces did not even allow the people to offer prayers at Raipora Masjid.
â€œThe harassment of the forces continued throughout the night. They barged into residential house Ghulam Rasool Sheikh, Abdul Subhan, Abdul Aziz, and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat and severely thrashed the inmates. They even fired several shots in air scaring our small children,â€ Nazir Ahmad, a local said.
However, police refuted the allegations of harassment and ransacking.
A police spokesman said that a police party led by SDPO Pattan raided the house of Ghulam Rasool Sheikh of Raipora, Palhalan to arrest his two sons Sajad Ahmad and Tariq Ahmad Sheikh who are involved in various cases of stone pelting, arson and attempt to murder. The siblings, police spokesman said were evading arrest for a long time.
â€œDuring search of the house the family members of the accused did not co-operate with the Police and resorted to hue and cry. The Police party exhibited restraint and to avoid any altercation with the female members of the family, withdraw themselves from the said house,â€ the police spokesman said.
In South Kashmirâ€™s Islamabad district, at least two people were injured in protests and clashes that broke out this afternoon.
Reports said groups of youth took to streets at Lazibal, Malaknag, K P Road and other areas of the district and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. The CRPF troops and police deployed in the areas swung into action to disperse the protesters. In retaliation, protesters stoned the forces. In the ensuing clashes, at least two people suffered minor injuries.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in rest of the Valley in response to the call given by Hurriyat Conference (G). All shops, business establishments, financial institutions, private banks, petrol pumps remained closed while public traffic was off the roads. A few private vehicles and troops carriers were only seen plying on the otherwise busy roads and highways of this summer capital.
A police spokesman said that nine people, including three policemen were injured in different incidents of stone pelting amidst a precautionary curfew in Srinagar, Pulwama town and Kakapora, Baramulla town, Pattan, Delina, Palhalan, Tangmarg and Kunzer, Sopore, Kralpora, Trehgam,Kupwara,, Handwara, Kulangam and Chotipora. In Srinagar and Handwara, the police spokesman said curfew was relaxed from 3 pm and 5 pm onwards.
â€œEarly today, miscreants surfaced in the Pallan area in main town Bandipore, and attempted to disrupt peace and create chaos by resorting to heavy stone pelting on security forces deployments. Three Policemen were injured in this stone pelting. In an effort to bring the situation under control, by the security forces, five miscreants suffered injuries. Four of them were given medical aid at District Hospital Bandipore, while one of the injured was later shifted to Srinagar,â€ the police spokesman said.
Last night, the spokesman said miscreants pelted upon stones on a Scorpio (JK01L-6168) resulting in head injury to one person. The injured, the spokesman said was shifted to SK Kashmir institute of medical sciences Soura, for treatment.
â€œElsewhere, situation continues to remain normal and under control throughout the Kashmir Valley.â€ The spokesman added.