Kashmir under siege
Srinagar/Muzaffarabad —Curfew remained in place across all 10 districts of Kashmir valley on Sunday with unprecedented deployment of police and paramilitary forces made to foil protests on the eve of August 15.
However, protesters defied the restrictions at many places leading to clashes with the government forces in which scores of persons were injured.
Clashes were reported from Anantnag, Shopian, Budgam, Srinagar, Baramulla and Bandipora districts.
Protesters clashed with government forces at Soibugh (Budgam), Hillar (Kokernag), Keegam (Shopian), Tral (Awantipora), Azad Gunj (Baramulla), Bomie (Sopore), and Nesu, Gulshan Abad and Mantrigam areas of Bandipora.
Clashes erupted in several areas of downtown Srinagar in the evening with paramilitary CRPF men using tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
Normal life remained paralysed for the 37th straight day of the unrest which has witnessed 59 deaths besides thousands of injured civilians.
Meanwhile, the government blocked mobile phone, and Internet services.
In north Kashmir, clashes erupted in Sopore, Baramulla and Bandipora. At Bandipora main town, around 300 people assembled to stage peaceful protests. Police and CRPF men used tear gas shells to disperse them. However, there were no reports of casualties when reports last came in.
In Baramulla and Sopore, locals took to streets to protest against civilian killings, shouting anti- India slogans and pro-independence slogans. Sources said police and CRPF personnel fired tear smoke shells in which several youth sustained minor injuries.
Reports of clashes between protesters and government forces reached from Kupwara, old bridge Baramulla, main town, Bandipora main town, Kaloosa, Aushtangoo, Ajar, Aargam, Sopore, Arampora, Chankhan, Zanipora, Sangrama, Tangmarg, Nihalpora, Bomai and Lolab.
As per reports peaceful protests were held at Sopore in the afternoon. Eyewitnesses said forces fired tear smoke shells on protesters.
Amid shutdown, curfew remained in place in all districts of north Kashmir with massive deployment of forces was made on the eve of August 15. All major bridges were sealed with barbed wires to isolate protesters.
Several youth were injured in clashes in south Kashmir’s Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama districts.
Clashes also erupted in Keegam Shopian, Rajpora, Kakpora, Anchipora and Mattan. Amid pro-Pakistan slogans, rallies with green flags were held.. A massive rally was organized where militants reportedly took part to observe Pakistan’s Independence Day. Police and CRPF immediately swung into action and dispersed rallies by using tear smoke shells and baton charge.
Clashes erupted in several places in downtown Srinagar in the evening as the city reeled under unprecedented restrictions. Police and paramilitary CRPF men used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
Meanwhile, massive security grid had been thrown around the venue of main August 15 official function was be held at Baskshi Stadium. All the link roads leading to city centre Lal Chowk and areas around Bakshi Stadium have been sealed. Protests and clashes also erupted in Chadoora, Ompora, Budgam andHussan Kangan. They said seven people sustained injuries in the clashes. Sources said hundreds of youth were beaten at different areas in north and south Kashmir for raising Pakistan’s national flag.
In AJK, protest rallies and functions were held in the liberated territory and in the world capitals to highlight different dimensions of the Kashmir dispute and Indian atrocities on innocent Kashmiris.
A central public gathering was held in State Capital with PM AJK with chair while Amir Jamaat e Islami Pakistan Siraj Ul Haq especially participated in the gathering. Deputy Speaker Sardar Farooq Tahir ,member Assembly Dr. Bashir Mustafa, member Kashmir Council Pervez Awan and other were also present on the occasion. Prime Minister and other speakers expressed solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir.
PM Raja Farooq Haider said that in occupied Kashmir, Kashmiris flouting curfew and other restrictions have celebrated Pakistan’s Independence Day with enthusiasm. He said Kashmiris love Pakistan as they, a day before, celebrated Pakistan Day with great enthusiasm by staging forceful pro-Pakistan rallies and demonstrations and hoisting Pakistani flags in every nook and corner of the occupied Kashmir.
In IHK, “Thousands of people defied curfew and took to the streets in Kulgam, Islamabad, Pulwama, Bandipora and other districts and raised high-pitched pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogan, Pakistani national flag was hoisted at many places,” he reminded. Kashmiris conveyed to the international community that New Delhi continues to deny the people of Jammu and Kashmir their inalienable right to self-determination.
IHK authorities converted the entire territory into a garrison through imposing unrelenting curfew and other restrictions for smooth conduct of the Independence Day celebrations. Tight security measures were taken around Bakhshi Stadium, the main venue of the official function in Srinagar. Sharp shooters had been deployed in all sensitive areas and vital installations. Closed circuit TV cameras were used to monitor the movement of people while mobile phone and Internet services remained suspended. However, people defied curfew at many places and held pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India rallies and demonstrations. Call for protests was jointly given by the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Syed Ali Gilani, and other Hurriyet leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.
Meanwhile, Indian troops in their fresh act of state terrorism, martyred four more Kashmiri youth in Srinagar and Baramulla districts, Monday. The youth were killed by Indian troops during siege and search operations in Nowhatta and Uri areas of the two districts. Dozens of people were injured when police and paramilitary forces used brute force on protesters in Bandipora, Badgam and other areas of the territory. Two personnel of Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force including a commanding officer were killed and over a dozen were injured when mujahideen attacked a CRPF camp in Nowhatta area of Srinagar, Monday.
On the other hand, an 18-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries at Soura Institute of Medical Complex in Srinagar, today, taking the death toll in the ongoing Kashmir Intifada to 74. The youth, Ishfaq Ahmad, was hit by pellets during a peaceful protest demonstration in Tangmarg on Saturday.
The authorities continued to put Hurriyet leaders including Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabbir Ahmad Shah and Muhammad Yasin Malik under house arrest or in jails to prevent them from leading anti-India demonstrations.—Agencies