KL NEWS NETWORK
On 57th day of mass anti-establishment uprising, one more youth was killed while over hundred civilians were injured by forces including CRPF, RR and police. There was no let-up in pro-freedom protest demonstrations although curfew and curfew-like restrictions continued to remain imposed across Kashmir on Saturday.
Late evening reports coming from South Kashmir said that one youth was hit by pellets and then “thrown” on concrete bank of a Nallah in Vesoo area of Qazigund who was rushed to District Hospital Islamabad where doctors declared him “brought dead”.
Identified as Basit Ahmad Ahanger (23), he was top cricketer of his area and resided in Vesoo village.
Doctors at Islamabad hospital confirmed that Basit was hit by pellets but in his legs “which could not have killed him”.
“He fell down when hit by pellets,” eye witnesses said, “we tried to get him but intense shelling didn’t let us move towards Basit and CRPF men came and threw him on a concrete wall.”
The doctors said, “Basit had a deep wound in his skull which resulted in his death.” “The injury must have been caused due to a fall and then hit on something concrete.”
With fresh killing of Basit, the death toll of civilians in forces firing reached 74 while more than 10000 civilians have been injured since July 09, 2016.
J&K Police in the evening said that curfew had been imposed in Baramulla, Sopore and Budgam towns in addition to areas falling under Nowhatta and MR Gunj police stations in Srinagar city.
But since government lifted curfew but forces continue to remain deployed in huge numbers and there is no change.
All educational institutions have remained closed since the on-going uprising triggered by the killing of popular Hizb militant commander Burhan Wani on July 08, 2016.
Public transport, main markets and other businesses also remained suspended.
Reports coming from across Kashmir put number of injured civilians at more than 100 in forces action.
More than 40 people sustained injuries after clashes between protesters and forces broke out in Ranipora Achabal area of South Kashmir’s Islamabad district.
Clashes broke out after forces tried to foil a pro-freedom rally. More than 35 people received injuries in which four pellet-injured were referred to District hospital Islamabad and others were treated locally.
Abdul Ahad Dar, 65-year-old was referred to Srinagar, and according to doctors he has “received serious pellet injuries in head and mouth”.
Eyewitnesses said that the pro-freedom rally was scheduled to be held at Ranipora, “but forces around 5:30 in the morning raided and started vandalizing the venue.”
“They smashed window panes and started beating everyone. Even women were beaten ruthlessly,” locals said. Soon, a procession from Karigam began approaching towards rally venue.
“We were approaching towards rally ground and forces fired upon us,” locals said.
At least a dozen persons were injured in clashes in south Kashmir’s Tral town.
Eyewitnesses said that clashes broke out in the Gulshanpora-Batigund village of Tral when forces tried to foil a pro-freedom rally.
They said, a youth, whose identity was not immediately known, was hit by a slingshot in his eye and was shifted to a nearby hospital where from he was referred to Srinagar for treatment.
They said the forces smashed public address system and vandalized the stage.
Reports said that even after police action, thousands of people reassembled in the area and organized the ‘Martyrs Conference’ at the proposed venue. It continued for the day.
Over a dozen civilians were injured after clashes erupted in Aavura village of Kupwara in North Kashmir.
According to reports that thousands of people assembled in Mohalla Rahim Sahab Sopore where they held Nimaz-e-Zuhr. After Nimaz, pro-freedom protest rally was held.
Protests erupted in Tukroo village of Shopian district after people came out on roads to protest against the “suspected” movement of CRPF vehicles in the area.
“A CRPF vehicle made several rounds in the area and it unnerved us for we thought they had come to arrest the protestors here,” locals said. “CRPF resorted to indiscriminate shelling on the protesters injuring about a dozen civilians.”
“Two of the injured have received shell injuries in head and have referred to Srinagar in a critical condition,” they added.
The duo has been identified as Shiraz Ahmad and Aadil Ahmad Hajam, both residents of Tengwaen Shopian.
Locals from Meemandar Shopian alleged that forces including local police and CRPF smashed the windowpanes of more than hundreds houses.
They said that after a stone-pelting incident, men in uniform went on rampage in the village and caused massive damages to residential houses.
“They lobbed sound grenades that created deafening noise and barged into houses, roughed up everyone who came in their way,” the locals said adding that even power transformers were damaged by these government forces.
“Meemandar is a big village where PDD has installed six transformers. They fired upon on all the transformers and damaged them, thus deprived us from electricity,” the locals said.
At least 20 persons were injured in Beerwah town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Locals said that forces, CRPF and JKP, used tear smoke shells and pellet guns against stone pelting protesters at many places in the town including near BSNL exchange.
They further said that one protester was hit by a police vehicle (Rakshak) and he was immediately referred to B&J hospital Srinagar. Locals said that at least 20 protesters sustained pellet injuries.
Peaceful protest rallies were organized in Toolinowpora and Gudar areas of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Hurriyat Conference (g) Secretary General (II) Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi addressed the rally at Toolinowpora and exhorted upon people to maintain discipline and be committed towards “on-going freedom struggle”.
Reports of massive clashes between forces from Lawaypora reached here late evening. However, no injury was reported.
Meanwhile, a hotel in Mehjoor Nagar area of the city came under heavy stone pelting in the evening by some unidentified persons.
Hotel Rafada, located on Mehjoor Nagar bund, houses civil secretariat employees.
Some windows panes of the hotel were broken, but none of the employees was hurt in the incident. Civil Secretariat Non- Gazetted employee Union president Ghulam Rasool Mir reportedly said it has exposed government’s failure to provide fool proof security to the employees.
“The government is asking employees to join duties while it has miserably failed to provide to security to the civil secretariat employees which are the wheels of the government,” Mir said.
Early in the day, “actions” of para-military CRPF evoked intense protests in Srinagar’s Batamaloo area which later led to beating of several Photo-Journalists by J&K Police.
Locals from the area said that as early as 7 AM, a few girl-students were on their way to private tuitions when they were stopped by CRPF men stationed in the area. “They were abused by them and the school going girls fled to their homes,” locals said, “people came out on roads and protests started.”
They said that CRPF and police men fired tear gas shells and fired in air to scare people. “But people showed resistance and elders had to intervene otherwise situation would have been quite different.” The CRPF men damaged at least three electricity transformers in Batamaloo.
Later, when Photo-Journalists rushed to the area they were stopped at the main chowk Batamaloo and were not allowed to enter Batamaloo inner areas.
Several of them were beaten and a few injured. This prompted a sit-in protest by the media men at the same spot and later a mass protest demonstration was held at Residency Road in the afternoon. The cops who thrashed the media men named SHO Batamaloo as having ordered them to “deal sternly with Photo-Journalists”.
In the evening as business establishments in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas started to open following ‘deal’ in shutdown by unified resistance leadership, “law and order” situation was created as news spread that a dead body was found on the banks of Jhelum near Amira Kadal. Police later said that it apparently looked like that of a non-local. The whole market had by then closed down and people were back home.
(With inputs from Shah Hilal, Aakash Hassan, Shaikh Hilal, CNS & KNS.)