Respite in curfew, protests mark Day 5
Clashes In Bandipora, Bijbehara, Islamabad, Pulwama; Several Injured
SHABIR IBN YUSUF/SUHAIL AJMAL
Srinagar/Bandipora, Feb 13: Most parts of Kashmir remained under curfew for fifth consecutive day Wednesday, while clashes erupted between forces and protesters at several places across the valley. Curfew was relaxed in some areas of Srinagar and main towns but it was re-imposed in Bijbehara after protests erupted against the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru.
Protests erupted in Bandipora town Wednesday morning after authorities announced relaxation in curfew. Witnesses said hundreds of youth assembled and raised pro-freedom slogans, condemning the hanging of Afzal.
The protestors in a huge procession marched from main chowk of Bandipora towards Nowpora where police and CRPF personnel intercepted them.
The forces burst tear smoke shells but the protestors did not relent. In the wake of stiff resistance by the people, the force personnel had to retreat and the protests continued for four hours.
In the evening, violent protests broke out in Papachan area of Bandipora. One person was injured in forces’ action while one bunker of CRPF was damaged by the protestors.
Witnesses said hundreds of people of Papachan and its adjoining areas took to streets and held strong protests demonstrations against the hanging of Guru. The protestors were intercepted by the forces, leading to clashes. Forces burst several tear smoke shells and cane-charged the protestors, leaving one person injured. The clashes were going on when this report was being filed. The forces also resorted to heavy aerial firing.
Locals in main town of Bandipora alleged that police and CRPF ransacked their houses. “It is unfortunate that police and CRPF are damaging our houses, breaking windows using guns, sticks and stones,” locals in ward 4 and 5 of Bandipora told Greater Kashmir. Similar allegations came in from residents of Nowpora, Ward 2, 3 and Naidkhai area.
Locals of Nowpora told Greater Kashmir that police and CRPF cops entered houses and thrashed women, which led to clashes between police and locals. Defying the curfew, people tried to take to streets in Kupwara, Handwara, Kralgund and Sopore, however heavy presence of police and other forces stopped them.
In Kupwara district, officials said that curfew was relaxed in Kralpora, Lalpora and Sogam areas from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and later the deal was extended.
Baramulla town remained under strict curfew and all the bridges in the town were sealed to restrict the movement of people.
Except main town, authorities lifted curfew during day time in several areas of Baramulla district including Uri, Boniyar, Tangmarg, Pattan excluding village Palhalan, Rafiabad excluding village Achabal and Doabgah, Tehsil Sopore excluding municipal limits of Sopore and village Seerjagir, Lalad and Sangrama.
An official said that restrictions shall not remain in force during night, for holding of prayers in mosques/gurdawaras/temples or burial rites/ceremonies, and movements of patients with their attendants to proceed to hospital or vice-versa.
Curfew remained in force in most parts of central Kashmir, however relaxation was given in the morning in some areas of civil lines in Srinagar.
Youth tried to take out processions in Nowhatta, Khanyar and Babademb areas of Srinagar; however they were not allowed.
Most parts of Budgam and Ganderbal districts also remained under strict curfew to foil any sort of protest demonstration against the hanging of Afzal Guru.
DC Bugdam refuted the reports regarding stone pelting on the cavalcade of Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather at Humhama while on way to Budgam. Deputy Commissioner Khurshid Ahmad Shah said no such incident has occurred during the visit of Finance Minister to the district.
Clashes broke out between forces and protesting youth on Srinagar-Leh highway at Wussan and Kijpora in Kangan area of Ganderbal district in which one policeman was injured.
Dr Qazi Javaid, superintendent SDH, said a cop identified as Muhammad Dillawar was injured. He was discharged from the hospital after being given first aid.
Protesting youth chanting pro-freedom and pro-Islamic slogans staged protests on Srinagar-Leh highway at Wussan and burnt tyres, blocking the road for hours.
Police swung into action and chased them away.
A meeting headed by DC Ganderbal Itrat Hussain Rafiquee was held at rest house Kangan in which Sarpanchs and the prominent citizens of Kangan participated after which curfew was relaxed from 4 pm onwards in Kangan area.
Islamabad (Anantnag) district of south Kashmir was also under strict curfew for fifth consecutive day and there was no relaxation in main town. Late Wednesday forces resorted to heavy tear gas shelling after protests broke out in the town. The clashes were going on when this report was being filed. Residents alleged ransacking of their houses in Janglat Mandi and other areas of Islamabad town.
The authorities had to re-impose curfew in Bijbehara town after massive protests broke out in the afternoon during the relaxation. The forces resorted to heavy shelling to stop the protestors from blocking the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
Reports said that police and paramilitary personnel, armed with sophisticated weapons, were manning the streets, lanes and by-lanes of old town as well as civil line area of Khannabal-Pahalgam (KP) Road to restrict the movement of people.
The forces resorted to aerial firing at several places in Islamabad (Anantnag) in the evening. Soon after the protests broke out in Sherpora, Lal Chowk and Kadipora, the forcers opened fire in air and resorted to heavy tear gas shelling in these areas.
Violent clashes in these areas were going on when this report was being filed. One youth has been detained at Kadipora.
During the clashes, five youth and there policemen including a DySP headquarters were injured.
Curfew remained clamped in Shopian and Kulgam districts.
However, curfew was relaxed for two hours in other towns of South Kashmir including Bijbehara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Tral, Awantipora and Pampore and the people were seen busy buying essentials.
Protests broke out in Muran Chowk of Pulwama district Wednesday afternoon. Forces opened fire in air and burst several tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors.
Protests also broke out in Pulwama Chowk Wednesday evening and the forces resorted to heavy aerial firing and tear smoke shelling. The protests were going on when this report was being filed.
Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (Anantnag) Farooq Ahmad Shah said that curfew has been lifted from Bijbehara and Mattan towns. “We have lifted curfew from these two towns, besides relaxation was given in curfew-bound Cheeni Chowk area from 4:15 pm today,” he said.
Shah said that people of the district can call on mobile number 9419047052 anytime if they face any inconvenience vis-a-vis essential commodities and medical facilities.
Authorities on Wednesday relaxed curfew in some areas of Srinagar and other towns of the Valley.
A police spokesman said here that curfew was relaxed in entire Badgam district from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday. He added that it has also been relaxed in Kakapora, Lasipora and Rajpora areas of Pulwama district from 9 am onwards.
The spokesman said that in Awantipora town of Pulwama district, it has been relaxed from 10 a.m. onwards. In Kupwara district he added that the curfew relaxation started in Kralpora, Lalpora and Sogam areas from 10 a.m.
In Srinagar city, the spkokesman said, curfew has been relaxed from areas falling under police stations of Rajbagh, Lal Bazaar, Nigeen, Zakoora, Panthachowk, Bemina, Nowgam and Parimpora from 9 a.m. onwards.
All Kashmir University examinations scheduled to be held up to and including 16th February, Saturday, have been postponed. Fresh dates will be notified separately, KU spokesperson Showkat Shafi said.
(WITH ALTAF BABA/ G M BHAT/ SHOWKAT DAR/SHEIKH NAZIR)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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