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Pro-freedom protests in Barzulla area of Srinagar on Sep 23, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)
Pro-freedom protests in Barzulla area of Srinagar on Sep 23, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)

On the 77th consecutive day of raging anti-India uprising, pro-freedom protests continued even as there is no let up in civilian killings, injuries and raids by forces.

As pro-freedom protests were held across Kashmir on Friday, before and after the mandatory congregational Friday prayers, Rashtriya Rifles men killed a 22-year-old youth in North Kashmir evoking widespread protests while at least hundred more civilians were injured across Kashmir. There is not end to arrests as well. Many people were detained by police today including those whose sons have been already booked under ‘lawless law’ Public Safety Act (PSA).

With the fresh killing, at least 89 civilians have been killed by forces during the on-going mass uprising triggered by the death of popular militant Burhan Wani on July 08, 2016.

22-year-old Waseem Ahmad Lone, son of Nazir Ahmad Lone, resident of Nadihal Rafiabad, targeted and hit by a bullet which was fired by army personnel of a Road Opening Party (ROP) in Nadihal area of Baramulla district on Baramulla-Kupwara highway.

He was rushed to district Hospital Baramulla where doctors declared him brought dead.

Reports said that stone pelting was going on in the area and the army party came under stones but eye witnesses claimed that Waseem was busy in paddy fields cutting rice plants and the firing of bullets was unprovoked.

Tents were erected to accommodate people during pro-freedom rally in Saloosa but forces set them ablaze. (KL Image: Eeshan Peer)
Tents were erected to accommodate people during pro-freedom rally in Saloosa but forces set them ablaze on Sep 23, 2016. (KL Image: Eeshan Peer)

Reports reaching from Baramulla hospital said that legs and feet of Waseem and his attendants were soiled with mud when they reached health facility amply making it clear that they were in fields.

A top doctor posted in the hospital said that Waseem was hit by a bullet in left shoulder which reached near to his neck causing his death. As the news of his death spread, people came out of their homes and protests erupted in which many civilians were injured.

Kashmir remained shut for the 77th consecutive day on Friday as authorities imposed severe restrictions in Srinagar city to prevent a protest march called by resistance leadership.

“Restrictions had been placed in three police station areas in Srinagar, parts of Islamabad, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam,” said a police official.

Eyewitnesses said that strict restrictions were in place in major parts of Srinagar city including areas in Old Srinagar city, Batamaloo, Dalgate, Maisuma, city centre Lal Chowk, Hyderpora and other areas of the capital.

In Srinagar’s Batamaloo area, locals said that severe restrictions had been imposed and people were not being allowed to move out of their homes.

Residents of Dalgate area of Srinagar on Friday accused the paramilitary forces of thrashing pedestrians and imposing severe restrictions on their movement. They said that barricades have been placed at Badyari Chowk to enforce curfew.

A pro-freedom rally was held in Kawdara area of Old Srinagar on Sep 23, 2016 seeking release of resistance leadership. (KL Image courtesy APHC-m)
A pro-freedom rally was held in Kawdara area of Old Srinagar on Sep 23, 2016 seeking release of resistance leadership. (KL Image courtesy APHC-m)

“Nobody was allowed to move on the road. Several pedestrians were thrashed at around 7 am when they went out to buy bread and milk,” said a local.

Earlier, the area witnessed night protests after an Imam of a local Masjid Molvi Ajaz Ahmed was picked up the police during a raid.

Reports said that the people staged massive protest in Dalgate throughout the night demanding immediate release of the Imam.

Due to government imposed restrictions and protest shutdown called by the pro-freedom leadership, all educational institutions, main markets, public transport and other businesses have remained suspended.

J&K Government disallowed mandatory Friday prayers in historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar for consecutive eleventh Friday today.

Last time it was on July 8, when hundreds of people offered Namaz-e-Jinazah in the premises of the centuries old grand Masjid and since then it is closed for mandatory Friday prayers.

Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq leads the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid. He, however, is under arrest since July 8 evening. Authorities had made huge deployment of CRPF and police men here to stop people from defying curfew.

Reports said that after Friday prayers from interior local masjids were completed, people from Kawdoora, Wantpora held protests.

Reports said that shortly after the culmination of Friday prayers, a pro-freedom rally was taken out in Barzulla area of Srinagar city.

However, forces including CPRF and police men resorted to tear gas shelling. “Forces fired scores of tear gas shells to disperse off the protests,” witnesses said.  They said that scores of women also joined the protests rally who raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. Two persons were arrested while a top cop was “beaten” by protestors, local sources said.

Amid clashes, protest marches were also taken out in Rambagh, Natipora, Chanapora, Zaina Kadal, Kathi Darwaza, Batamaloo areas of the city.

At Kathi Darwaza, locals alleged that CRPF personnel from Pokhribal camp went on rampage and caused massive damage to private property.

Reports from Srinagar’s Batamaloo said that scores of women took out a pro-freedom rally after Friday prayers. “The women held pro-freedom protests in Danderkhah but CRPF and police men stopped them from marching further,” a local said.

Pro-freedom protests in Sopore on Sep 23,, 2016. (KL Image: Muhammad Abu Bakr)
Pro-freedom protests in Sopore on Sep 23,, 2016. (KL Image: Muhammad Abu Bakr)

Second time in the day, late evening clashes erupted in Natipora area. Reports and eye witnesses said that forces including police and CRPF men lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse off the protesting youths who were throwing stones.

“One man was held by youths while video recording the protests,” reports said, “he was thrashed before being rescued by some people.”

At least seven youths were injured in clashes between youth and forces including CRPF and police men in Chrar-e-Sharief town of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Friday.

Earlier, forces had sealed the entire Chrar-e-Sharief town following a call by the resistance leadership asking people of the district to march towards the historic town.

Reports and witnesses said the clashes broke out between protestors and forces in Gulshan Abad locality in which two youth received injuries.

Both the youths have been injured and are stable, said a doctor at the local hospital. Police and CRPF had erected barricades and laid concertina wires at all entry points around the town to prevent people from marching in. Later, as the clashes intensified, more five persons were injured of whom two were shifted to Srinagar. The injured persons were hit by pellets.

Protest marches were carried out in Manigam, Beehama and Safapora areas of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. In Kangan, two persons were injured during a stone-pelting incident.

Reports from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said that a group of youth emerged on the road in Prichoo area and pelted stones on private vehicles plying through the area.

Witnesses said that a dozen of private vehicles were damaged while some of the drivers were also thrashed. Later, police and para-military troopers were deployed in the area in strength.

Protests were held in Pampore and adjacent areas on Friday against the arrest of three youths.

Witnesses said that people took to streets after announcements were made through public address systems of the mosques asking people out. They said three youths were picked up during a night raid by the forces in the area.

A pro-freedom rally was organized in Nowpora Pulwama that was attended by hundreds of people.

The rally was led by senior resistance leader Abdul Samad Inqalabi. Amid pro-freedom slogans the peaceful protesters demanded solution of Kashmir.

Protesters offered funeral prayers-in-absentia for the slain youths who lost their lives since July 8. Similar kind of protest march was taken out from Tahab and Naira villages of Pulwama.

Several persons were injured during the clashes between protesters and CRPF at Newa Pulwama. Witnesses said that protesters attacked CRPF 183 Battalion with stones which retaliated with tear-smoke shells causing injuries to several protesters.

A peaceful protest was staged in Samboora Pulwama after Friday prayers.

Police foiled Devsar and Kokernag ‘Chalo’ calls and imposed strict restrictions in these areas.

Witnesses said that the movement of the people was restricted and nobody was allowed to march either to Devsar Kulgam and Kokernag in Islamabad district.

However, a massive protest was staged by people in Sofshali Kokarnag area of Islamabad district after Rashtriya Rifles (RR), CRPF and police men caused massive damage to private property.

Locals alleged that CRPF, Army and Police jointly barged into the houses and besides thrashing inmates ransacked the houses and damaged property.

The protesters shouted anti-India and Azadi slogans.

Witnesses said that more 20 protesters suffered pellet injuries while one of the protesters was hit by a tear-gas shell. Witnesses added that due to fear from getting arrested, injured didn’t move to the hospital. Media men were not allowed to enter the village by men in uniform.

Reports from South Kashmir’s Kulgam district said that peaceful pro-freedom protest marches were carried out from dozens of areas of the district including Okai, Qaimoh, Kulgam, Khudwani, Yaripora, Sindhu, Bogam, Muhammadpora, Nehama and Manzgam.

Forces used tear-smoke shells to disperse stone-pelters at Qaimoh while Station House Officer Kulgam Irshad Ahmed was wounded after a stone hit his head at Kulgam market that witnessed massive clashes between protesters and forces.

Three students were roughed up by CRPF after they were on way to their home from tuition centre.

“In order to foil Devsar march, CRPF men were deployed in large numbers at Soput village. On seeing us they pounced upon us and thrashed us,” said a wounded student.

Clashes also broke out at Shodagali and Kurigam in Qazigund in which several persons were injured.

A peaceful protest was taken out at Vessu Qazigund. The protesters carrying placards and banners sought the resolution of Kashmir issue. They also demanded the immediate release of the youths detained in different police stations.

Clashes broke out in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district after forces stopped a peaceful protest march near Cement Bridge.

Reports said that after Friday prayers ended, large number of people staged a pro-freedom march that was stopped by police in the middle of the Cement Bridge. Police intervention irked protesters who pelted stones on the forces, triggering clashes. Witnesses said that forces used tear-smoke shells and pellets to disperse off the protesters.

Clashes erupted in Sopore areas while people took out a pro-freedom rally as well. However, forces burnt down tents which were erected to accommodate people during a pro-freedom rally which was not allowed to be held. Forces damaged houses and other private property worth lakhs of rupees.

The border town of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district remained shut while all the shops, business establishments, educational institutions remained closed and traffic was off the roads.

The reports of clashes and protest marches came in from different parts of Bandipora district including Gulshan Chowk, Ajar, Kaloosa, Hajin and Ajas.

Forces dispersed a pro-freedom rally in Gulshan Chowk and used tear-smoke shells.

Reports said that hundreds of people participated in the pro-freedom rally who raised anti-India slogans. Police also used tear-gas shelling at Kaloosa and Ajar to foil the protest marches.

A massive pro-freedom protest was reported from Hajin while thousands of people offered Friday prayers at Eidgah at Ajas Bandipora.

People at Hajin carried out a protest rally in the town against the detention of Hurriyat Conference (g) leader Muhammad Yousuf Sofi and demanded his immediate release.

Sofi, a resident of Brar village, was arrested while he was coming out from Jamia Masjid Hajin after offering congregational Friday prayers, they said.

Locals from Madar Bandipora alleged that forces personnel barged into their houses and damaged private property while beating inmates. They said that shortly after a stone-pelting incident, forces went on rampage, damaged property and thrashed people.

Clashes also broke out in Palhallan and Singhpora areas of Pattan town. Protesters resorted to stone-pelting while police fire tear-smoke shells to disperse them.

Meanwhile, to protest against the civilian killings in Kashmir Valley in the last 77 days, the Banihal town of district Ramban observed complete shutdown for the 3rd consecutive day on Friday.

The shutdown was called by the Beopar Mandal Banihal and Imam Jamia Markazi Masjid. Effect of shutdown was visible on transport movement and all government and private educational institutions, business houses and some government departments.

Heavy deployment of forces including CRPF, SSB and police personnel was witnessed in Banihal as a “preventive measure”.

(With inputs from Current News Service.)

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