Ambulance sirens return to Srinagar, scare takes over

Srinagar: As sirens fitted ambulance pass through the deserted Lal Chowk, a new scare has overtaken Kashmir. SMHS hospital is the usual destination of all these ambulance moving at lightening speed through a calm, visibly depopulated Lal Chowk.

(File image of ambulance ferrying injured to Srinagar hospital)

Kashmir’s high business street is deserted as the market is closed already. Now occassional private vehicles move around. Chripping of birds is heard so easily now.

“We are keeping the fingers crossed,” one middle rung police officer said. “Tension is everywhere, so are injuries and protests. But let us see how it behaves.” He said he hopes there are no more casualties. By now one is already dead and at least two are critical.

The officer said the students at various places did come out, pelted stones, were angry and somehow were pushed home. “Even a brief spell of stone pelting took place in Jawahar Nagar,” he said.

In Lal Chowk, a police officer was seen stopping comercial vehicles and helping the girl students to broad and leave. He was trying to send the tense population home. There was a brief spell of stone pelting when a group of youngsters threw a few stones on the CTO bunker. There was no reaction and they went home.

A file picture of ambulance damaged allegedly by government forces at SMHS hospital, Srinagar.

By now, however, most of the colleges are locked and students are almost home. The tensions around the schools has gradually gone down but the street remain tense.

However, the parents of little kids faced a serious crisis in re-collecting their kids. “My son goes to a school in Pulwama but the driver drove him to Srinagar,” Meraj Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Pampore said. “He said the driver could not get through Pampore and instead came from outside the town. Now I have my son with me but how to reach home is a problem.”

Bilal Ahmad, a resident of Batamaloo, has his kid enrolled in a Gogjibagh school. His driver rang him up from Tengpora bypass. “I am trying to reach him but my problem is how?” Bilal asked.

Situation in South is gradually getting hot. There are injuries in Shopian and in Pulwama. Even in Islamabad town some injuries were reported. Injured are in dozens and most of them are being treated in local hospitals. Only the serious injuries are referred to Srinagar, one reporter from Islamabad said.

The highway is disrupted between Qazigund and Pampore. Various civilians are injured in the stone pelting at various places.

In the city periphery, reports said the youth are burning tyres on the roads and disrupting traffic. The main Srinagar city was closed within minutes after the news about killing of Hizb commander and Burhan Wani’s successor Sabzaar Ahmad Bhat in an encounter at Saimu, Tral reached Srinagar. The first ones to react were students of Islamia College who took over the streets briefly.

Right now the tension is that the people who want to reach home are not getting any carriers. Buses in various areas have stopped plying because of stone-pelting.

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