People clash with troops in Soura, Sopore, Baramulla, Achabal; police arrest 55 more, including Hurriyat leader, Class 11 student
Srinagar—Defying police restrictions, protests were held and clashes with government troops broke out at several places across the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday leaving several people injured.
Troops remained stationed at most towns and villages of the Valley and concertina wires were laid on most roads to prevent people from marching or gathering for protest demonstrations.
Markets and shops that opened on Sunday following the relaxation period given by the pro-freedom leadership remained closed on Monday for the entire day.
Several people sustained injuries after the situation turned volatile at Soura locality of Srinagar when a local pro-freedom leader, Hayat Ahmad Day, was picked up by police when he was on his way home during the afternoon.
Witnesses said that announcements were made on public address systems at several mosques of the locality asking people to come out and protest the “unlawful” arrest.
Scores of people assembled and blocked the main road of Soura to demand the immediate release of the arrested leader.
Residents of the area said that government forces reached the spot and lobbed several rounds of teargas shells, PAVA shells and fired pellets at the protesters. Youths in retaliation hurled rocks at the forces and the clashes continued for several hours. At least seven persons sustained injuries during the clashes. They were treated in local health facilities.
Clashes erupted between youths and government forces following a police raid at Azad Gunj and Bunglow Bagh areas of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Witnesses said that a contingent of forces came to arrest local youths on charges of stone-pelting, to resist which locals came out of their houses and youths fought the troops with stones. Five civilians sustained injuries in the clashes and were treated in local clinics and hospitals.
Residents of Baramulla district said that policemen have begun roaming in civvies to apprehend alleged stone-pelters in several areas. Eight persons have been arrested by police in the last 24 hours and night raids to arrest youth are continuing, residents said.
Four shops were also gutted in fire in Baramulla district on Monday of causes yet unknown. The Baramulla Traders Federation president said of the fire incidents, “Someone in the government is involved in this, for how can someone set the shops afire when troops remain stationed throughout the day?” He said that the owners of the gutted shops are wanted by the police for taking part in stone-pelting.
In Sopore, clashes broke out at Hatlangoo village after forces raided a pro-freedom seminar-cum-rally organised by the locals.—KR