Current News Service
A strict curfew was imposed across Kashmir amid Aripanthan march call by joint resistance leadership crippled life in Kashmir on the 42nd straight day on Friday.
67 civilians were killed in the renewed uprising that was triggered on the day charismatic Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by forces on July 08.
The resistance leadership had asked people to march towards Aripanthan Beerwah in Budgam district where four civilians were massacred in unprovoked firing by the paramilitary forces on August 16.
Top resistance leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are under house arrest while Yasin Malik is lodged in central jail Srinagar.
Though authorities barred Hurriyat leaders and people from Kashmir parts from proceeding towards Aripanthan village, yet according to local reports thousands of people assembled in Aripanthan and organized a massive pro-freedom protest rally.
“Authorities had sealed all roads leading towards the village, but people from hundreds of areas after taking alternate routes managed to reach there. The participants were addressed by different leaders,” an eyewitness said.
A sit-in was held after Friday prayers in Nawa Kadal area of old Srinagar.
Earlier, a protest rally was taken out from Masjid Sharief Khankah-i-Sokhta to Lukhriyar Nawa Kadal.
The rally culminated at the Ansari Chowk where a sit-in was staged, which was led by Hurriyat Conference (m) leader Masroor Abbas Ansari.
The protestors chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Reports said that pro-freedom protests were held at Dargah Hazratbal after congregational Friday prayers.
The protests were staged at the end of the prayers in which pro-freedom slogans were raised.
Police arrested Hurriyat Conference (g) chairperson, Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat Conference (m) chairperson, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as they defied detention orders and started marching towards Aripanthan from their residences.
Hurriyat sources said that Geelani came out of his residence in Hyderpora, however, police already deployed arrested him.
He was whisked away to Humhama police Chowki and released in the evening.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was also detained after he tried to march towards Aripanthan village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, sources said adding Mirwaiz was shifted to police station Nigeen.
Eyewitnesses said that a pro-freedom rally was organised shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers in Chanapora area of Kashmir capital Srinagar.
Hundreds of people assembled at a park in Doodh Ganga Colony, Old Chanapora. A large number of women also participated in the rally.
The protesters according to eyewitnesses shouted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, besides pro-Burhan slogans.
Reports from Dalgate area of Srinagar city said that as soon as Friday congregational prayers ended, people including women and children came out on roads in Buchwara side of Dalgate.
Amid pro-freedom slogans holding placards, the protestors raised pro-freedom, pro-Burhan Wani and anti-India slogans.
Reports from North Kashmir’s Bandipora district said that massive clashes erupted on Friday after the forces tried to break up a pro-freedom rally.
Police and paramilitary forces intercepted the rally near Nowpora Chowk and fired several tear smoke shells to disperse the demonstrators.
This triggered massive clashes, in which around a dozen women sustained injuries.
Witnesses said that the inhabitants of Pazalpora, Mantrigam and Darmahama areas of district carried out a protest rally and marched towards Sonerwani where an office of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is located.
The protestors, according to witnesses, tried to attack the BRO office but they were intercepted by Army’s 14 RR unit camped at Sonerwani, which led to clashes.
Army fired dozens of tear smoke, sound shells and pepper gas to disperse the protestors.
Reports said that two youth were injured during the clashes, which were going on when the last reports came in.
A complete shutdown was observed in Uri town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district against the killing spree in the valley by the forces.
All the shops, business establishments, educational institutions were closed and traffic was off the roads.
“More than 67 innocent people have been killed in the valley, so far. What government will get by killing the innocent’s,” said a member of the Traders Federation Uri.
“We are going to lodge a strong protest in near future against the unabated civilian killings in the valley,” he said adding, “the common man in Kashmir has been made hostage by the Indian forces for the last 42 days; this is the worst kind of human rights violation, we have ever seen.”
More than a dozen people were injured after forces fired pellets and used tear-gas shells into a demonstration in North Kashmir’s Palhallan area on Friday.
Eyewitnesses said that a peaceful protest was organized in the area, which was headed by elders and senior citizens.
“We were marching peacefully towards the highway. Forces fired pellets and teargas shells without any provocation,” said a protester.
He said over a dozen persons received pellet injuries. They have been shifted to nearby health centres for treatment, he said.
During clashes in Palhallan, an ASI Rakesh Kumar Sharma of 176 Battalion, PSO of SSP Baramulla including four cops was injured when SSP’s cavalcade came under heavy attack by youths.
Reports said that at least three persons were injured when forces fired pellets to disperse protestors in North Kashmir’s Trehgam area of Kupwara district. Police sources said that three persons were injured and later shifted to Kupwara hospital.
Pro-freedom march was carried out in North Kashmir’s Sopore town.
Locals alleged that forces stationed in the Chowk, used force and fired teargas smoke shells towards the peaceful protesters.
Two women among and several protestors were injured during the clashes which erupted thereafter.
The injured were shifted to the local hospital.
Meanwhile government did not allow major Masjids in Srinagar, Islamabad, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Baramulla and other district headquarters on Friday.
Clashes erupted in Qaimoh and Qazigund areas after Friday prayers while forces used tear-smoke shells to disperse the pro-freedom protesters.
Reports said that the effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was put on fire by the protesters in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
For the sixth consecutive Friday, mandatory congregational Friday prayers were not allowed in historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar.
The last Friday when Friday prayers were offered in Jamia Masjid was when Hizb militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by forces on 8 July.
A statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir claimed that 21 incidents of stone pelting were reported after Friday prayers from Sopore, Shopian, Kulgam, Baramulla, Handwara, Bandipora and Pulwama.
The statement said that restrictions under section 144/Cr PC remained in force in Kashmir valley on Friday.
“Curfew was imposed in Srinagar, Baramulla, Kaloosa in Bandipora and in the towns of Islamabad, Shopian and Pampore,” the statement said.
The statement further said that last evening, unknown militants hurled a grenade towards the residential house of ex-MLA Shopian, Sheikh Mohammad Rafi at village Kachdoora, Shopian which exploded without causing any damage.
“A case stands registered in Police Station Shopian and investigation taken up,” it said.