By Shabir Ibn Yusuf
Srinagar/Jammu, India, (GKNN): At least 25 people were injured in clashes that erupted in most parts of Kashmir on Friday against the killing of four civilians by Border Security Force (BSF) in Gool area of Ramban on Thursday.
The Government enforced curfew in all major towns of Kashmir to prevent protests and thwart the ‘Lal Chowk Chalo’ call of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.
At least 13 persons were also injured in a clash between police and protesters in Doda township, even as protest demonstrations rocked almost all parts of the region, including the Jammu city, on Friday against the alleged desecration of holy Quran and the Gool killings.
CENTRAL KASHMIR In central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, two youth were injured when police opened fire to disperse a protest rally at Kurhma village of Lar Tehsil on Srinagar-Leh highway.
Locals said that heavy contingents of police and CRPF intercepted a protest rally in the area soon after Friday prayers. Locals said that Muhammad Yusuf Ganai (23) of Kurhama and Zahoor Ahmad (18) of Yangoora Lar were critically injured.
The police fired when huge gathering of protesting youth defied the curfew and pelted stones on police and CRPF. Locals said that police used force and opened fire in which Yusuf received bullet in abdomen and another bullet hit the ear of Zahoor.
Both were rushed to SKIMS. Reports of clashes between forces and youth came in from hospital road Dudarhama, main market Beehama, Sindh bridge Kangan and Manigam.
At Manigam, after dawn prayers locals made announcement through public address system of a Masjid and appealed the people to come on roads to stage protests against arrest of some youth of the village.
Soon after the announcement, scores of people assembled and held strong protests. The protestors fought pitched battles with the forces.
At Manigam and Kangan police resorted to lathi charge and fired tear smoke shells to disburse the protesters. In Nunar, youth erected barricades and burnt tyres on roads.
Reports of protests were also received from Safapora where locals assembled outside Jamia Masjid after prayers and staged peaceful protests. Superintendent of Police (SP) Ganderbal, Shahid Meraj told Greater Kashmir that two youth were injured at Kurhama due to pallets and tear smoke shells. “We did not open fire anywhere. Except some clashes at Kurhama and Kangan, the situation is normal,” SP Shahid said.
In Srinagar, protests erupted soon after morning prayers, however they were contained after heavy contingents of forces arrived in localities for clamping curfew.
Anticipating massive protests on the call of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Lal Chowk Chalo by JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik against the Gool killings, curfew was imposed in Srinagar city and hundreds of additional cops and paramilitary CRPF troopers were deployed on roads.
In some parts of old Srinagar including Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rajouri Kadal, violent clashes erupted soon after morning prayers. The protestors pelted stones on the forces. Two police vehicles were damaged during the clashes. Pedestrian and vehicular movement was blocked by laying spools of concertina wires and barricades in the city, however in uptown people were allowed to move from one place to another without any restrictions. In civil lines area of city, police was also deployed in Batamaloo, Tengpora, Qamarwari, Maisuma, Magarmal Bagh, Rambagh, Hyderpora and other areas.
Stone pelting incidents were reported from Saraibala, Khanyar, Soura, S.D. Colony Batamaloo and Rainawari.
Two CRPF personnel were injured during the clashes in Khanyar who were shifted to Rainawari Hospital. The police and paramilitary personnel didn’t allow people to offer Friday prayers in Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid.
NORTH KASHMIR: Amid curfew in various localities of Bandipora, people took to roads after Friday prayers and staged protest demonstrations. The protests were held in Bandipora, Saderkoot, Naidkhai, Hajin, Nowgam, Shadipora and Papchan areas where people took to roads after Friday prayers against Gool killings.
Violent protests erupted in Sumbal and Naidkhai, Bandipora town and Papchan where protesters clashed with forces.
Clashes continued till the deployment was removed from roads. In Sumbal and Naidkhai, police burst tear smoke shells and cane charged the protesters. The pitched battles between protesters and forces were going on till this report was being filed. At least 11 people were injured during the ensuing clashes in Naidkhai.
Protestors turned violent when CRPF fired pellet injuring Tawfeeq Ahmed who was referred to Sumbal Hospital. Reports said the forces lobbed tear-smoke shells and fired pellets to disperse the protesters. Two persons received pellet injuries during the protests while nine youth also sustained injuries during the clashes.
The injured youth have been identified as Merajudin Dar, Majid Ahmed Lone, Irfan Ahmed Ganie, Sahbir Ahmed Ganie, Sajad Ahmed Rather, Waseem Ahmed Dar.
The condition of all the persons has been stated as normal. In Baramulla town, two CRPF personnel were injured during clashes that erupted between agitating youths and police. These clashes occurred after a group of youths who were protesting against the Gool killings tried to move from old town towards the civil lines area and were prevented by the cops.
Police fired tear smoke shells to disperse the agitating youths. Later police prevented the movement on all the four major bridges of the town by putting barricades.
Authorities deployed police and CRPF personnel in strength. In volatile Palhallan area of Baramulla district, clashes between police and agitating youths were witnessed throughout the day. Police fired scores of tear gas shells to disperse the agitating youths.
During the clashes, a sub-inspector of police, Asif Ahmad, was injured. Elsewhere in the district, various peaceful protest marches were carried out after the Friday prayers.
In Khanpora Baramulla, people took out a peaceful protest march after Friday prayers. The protesters while condemning the killing of innocent youths at Ramban, demanded the immediate arrest of paramilitary forces involved in the firing.
Peaceful protest marches was also reported from Tangmarg where hundreds of people amid pro-freedom slogans took out a protest march after Friday prayers. The protest march later culminated peacefully. In border town Uri, hundreds of people took out a protest march from general bus stand this morning.
The protesters amid pro-Islamic slogans marched through the main market of the town and later dispersed peacefully. The entire area of Uri town which includes Chandanwari, Boniyar, Rampur observed a complete shutdown against the incident.
In Kandi belt of Baramulla district, a complete shutdown was witnessed against the Ramban incident. All the shops were closed and traffic movement was completely suspended. The clerics during the Friday prayers condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of security personnel involved in the incident.
In Rafiabad area of Baramulla district, a complete shutdown was observed against the Ramban incident. All the shops were closed and the entire area wore a deserted look.
In Tangmarg, protests rocked Tehsil headquarter after Friday prayers. A huge procession comprising about two thousand people was led by local Khateeb and was taken from Jamia Masjid Tangmarg to the main market.
The people condemned the Gool killings and raised pro-Islamic and pro-freedom slogans. The procession later dispersed peacefully. The world famous tourist resort Gulmarg presented a deserted look with shops and business establishments closed
in markets viz Tangmarg, Chandilora, Druroo, Rarem, Kunzar, Dhobiwan, Magam Kaniham and Mazhama on Srinagar Gulmarg road and the interiors of Tangmarg viz Khaipora, Kralweth, Harde- Aboora , Lalpora and the adjoining villages of all these areas presented a civil curfew like scenario. The traffic on Srinagar Gulmarg road and interiors remained suspended. Sopore Tehsil of Baramulla district was also put under curfew.
Protests rocked several areas of frontier district Kupwara after Friday prayers against the firing incident in Ramban. Despite strict restrictions by forces, thousands of people after Friday prayers took to roads in Kupwara, Trehgam, Kralpora, Handwara and Langate raising anti-India and anti-force protests demanding arrest of the culprits and punishment to them.
There was complete shutdown in various towns of the district against the civilian killings by BSF and authorities restricted the movement of the people and vehicles. Additional forces were deployed in several areas of the district.
SOUTH KASHMIR: A strict curfew was imposed in all major towns of South Kashmir to thwart any attempts of protests against Gool incident even as protests and clashes erupted in peripheries. In Islamabad town, reports said that a strict curfew was clamped. “Police and paramilitary forces wearing riot gears and armed with sophisticated weapons were guarding the streets and lanes and by-lanes of the town and no one was allowed to venture out,” witnesses said. The forces erected barricades and concertina wires at several places. They said that though Friday prayers were offered in all masjids, only elderly people were allowed to offer congregational prayers in the main masjids including Jamia Masjid Hanfia, Jamia Masjid Ahlihadith, Rehat Ded masjid and Bait-ul-Mukaram. “I was told by police and paramilitary forces that I cannot cross the by-lane and offer prayers in the masjid as I was not above 50,” said a youth.
Residents of Sarnal said that senior police officials rushed towards a masjid at Heemal Nag and asked the local Imam to exercise restraint while delivering Friday sermon.
Curfew remained imposed in Bijbehara and Mattan towns too.
In Achabal area of the district, after Friday congregational prayers people in large numbers gathered outside the masjids and took out a procession. The protesters were shouting pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
In Dooru area of the district, people also carried out demonstrations after Friday prayers against the Gool incident. Police and CRPF, however, used force by resorting to baton charge and tear gas shelling to quell the protesters, injuring few of them.
Curfew also remained strictly enforced in Kulgam, Qaimoh and Qazigund towns of Kulgam district. People defied curfew in Qazigund and held protest demonstrations. Several people were injured in the clashes that erupted between forces and protesters. In Qaimoh, police and CRPF lobbed tear gas shelling and resorted to aerial firing on the protesters. Curfew was also strictly enforced in Pulwama, Pampore, Awantipora and Kakpora areas of Pulwama district,
However, clashes between forces and people occurred at Wuch Bug and Prichu villages as well as Murran Chowk area of the town. In Tral, massive pro-freedom demonstrations were held at several places after Friday prayers. People from Darsaroo marched towards Tral town, however they were intercepted by forces who resorting to baton charge and tear gas shelling. The protesters retaliated by pelting stones. Several people sustained injuries in the clashes. Curfew was also clamped in Shopian town, however protests and clashes rocked several area of district including Gagran, Aliyalpora and Bonigam throughout the day. Several people including two cops sustained injuries in the day-long clashes, reports said.
In Shopian town, people defied curfew and held protests. Clashes erupted at DC office road, Bonibazar and Hospital road. Two youth sustained injuries in the clashes.
People of Bonbazar and Khar Mohalla alleged that police and CRPF went berserk in the area and smashed the window panes of their houses and parked vehicles. “Forces lobbed numerous tear gas shells during the entire day some of which even landed inside our houses,” locals said. Earlier, funeral prayers in absentia were offered for the Gool victims in all masjids of Shopian town and Zainapora.
In Qazigund area of Kulgam district, 13 people were wounded when police fired their guns to quell the massive pro-freedom procession. Reports said that people in large numbers gathered on the highway and held massive demonstration. “As the protesters were marching forward amid pro-freedom slogans and reached the main chowk, a huge posse of police persons rushed to the spot and resorted to indiscriminate firing,” eyewitnesses said. They said that while two people identified as Jan Muhammad Mir and Mitha received bullet injuries, ten others were wounded by rubber bullets. “We were peacefully protesting at the main chowk when police suddenly fired several rounds on us,” said a protestor. Situation in the highway town remained tense when reports last came in.
Several cops and CRPF men were also injured in the clashes. In Khudwani area of Kulgam district, one protester identified as Zahid Ahmad Mundoo S/O Mukhtar Ahmad Mundoo received bullet injury when police fired on the procession. Reports said that several others were injured in baton charge and tear gas shelling. Three police men and four CRPF personnel were also injured in the clashes. A cavalcade of Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo, was today attacked by protesters at Pampore.
Reports said that the Minister was returning to Srinagar from Shopian when her cavalcade was attacked by the protesters. “As the Minister’s cavalcade reached near Samboora area of Pampore, agitated youth resorted to heavy stone pelting, damaging the window panes of vehicles accompanying her,” eyewitnesses said.
“The Minister escaped unhurt and no one was injured in the incident.” They said that security guards came down from the vehicles and resorted to aerial firing which created panic in the area. DIG South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said the forces did not open fire anywhere and there is no firearm injury. He said that 15 policemen and five CRPF men were injured. Protestors attacked the CRPF deployment but the police exercised maximum restraint, he said.
KARGIL: To protest Gool killings, IKMT Kargil organized a protest rally in the town after Friday prayers. The rally started from Jamia Masjid Kargil which passing through Lal Chowk, Islamia School Chowk and main bazaar Kargil concluded at Public Park Kargil. Imam Jumma Wal Jamiat Kargil Hujjatul Islam Sheikh Hussain Muqadas during Friday sermon condemned the killings in strongest terms.
Imam also announced that Anjuman-e-Jamiyat Ullama (Islamic Society of Kargil) has announced a bandh call on July 20 and requested the people to abide by the call. Speakers on this occasion condemned these killings and said such events is a blow to the democratic structure of India and to secure the secular image and democracy in the country government should immediately take action against the culprits behind these incidents.
SEPARATISTS UNDER ARRST, LODGED IN DIFFERENT POLICE STATIONS:
Chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were among many pro-freedom leaders who remained under house arrest while JKLF Chief Yasin Malik, Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah and Javid Ahmad Mir remained in police custody. Media Advisor to Mirwaiz Umar, Shahid-ul-Islam, who is also under house arrest, in a statement said, “Chairman Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remained under house arrest as a result of which he could not offer prayers for second consecutive Friday in this holy month of Ramdhan.” Besides Mirwaiz, other leaders of the amalgam including Aga Syed al-Hassan Al-Mousvi, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Moulana Masroor Ansari, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Zaffar Akhbar Bhat and Chaudary Shaheen were confined to their residence, the statement added.
Nayeem Ahmad Khan, chairman of Jammu Kashmir National Front was also kept under house arrest since Thursday evening.
Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Geelani, continues to be under house arrest since his return from New Delhi in March this year.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik and three of his aides remained under police custody. Malik was arrested in Lal Chowk on Thursday afternoon after he took out a protest rally against the Gool killings. JKLF sources said Malik and his aides including Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Basher Ahmad Kashmiri and Ghulam Muhammad Dar, remained in police custody for second consecutive day. They said that police have also arrested JKLF District president Ganderbal, Basher Ahmad Rather alias Boya along with JKLF activist Ajaz Ahmad Lone from Bihama area of the central Kashmir district.
Democratic Freedom Party also condemned the continuous detention of party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah and Muhammad Yasin Ataye. “There is no justification for the arrest of Shah and Ataye and it is nothing but political vendetta,” a spokesman of the party said.
POLICE VERSION: “The situation remained by and large peaceful throughout the Kashmir valley, although some incidents of stone pelting have been reported from some places. In these incidents, 10 policemen, seven CRPF men and five civilians were injured. All of them are stable so far,” a police spokesman said.
JAMMU REGION At least 13 persons were injured in a clash between police and protesters in Doda township, even as protest demonstrations rocked almost all parts of the region, including the Jammu city, on Friday against the alleged desecration of holy Quran and killing four innocent civilians in BSF firing in Gool area of Ramban district yesterday. While the day-long shutdown and protest demonstration remained peaceful across the region, with police making additional security deployments, clashes broke out in Doda town when cops tried to stop demonstrators.
CITY Series of protests were held across the city and on its outskirts with protestors demanding stern action against those who fired at the unarmed civilians in Gool.
The protests were held after the Friday prayers outside various masjids of Jammu city, including Jamia Masjid Talab Khatinka, Narwal Chowk, Panjtrthi, Gujjar Nagar, Panjthirthi, Sidhra and Bithindi. The protestors shouted slogans against the state government and Border Security Force (BSF). However, by and large the protests remained nonviolent and no untoward incident was reported anywhere from the Jammu city. Holding placards, over 500 hundred people of Sunjwan and Bithindi areas assembled at Bithindi Chowk, amid slogans against the state government and BSF. They demanded stern action against all the BSF personnel who fired at the protestors without any provocation.
The protesters also blocked the traffic movement for one hour on the Jammu- Srinagar bypass road. At one time, amid chanting of slogans, protesters started moving towards Narwal Chowk but on the appeal of Senior Superintended Police, Rajeshwar Singh, they stopped from moving ahead. A protester, Muhammad Shafi said security forces have always played with religious sentiments of people. “And when people lodge protest against the same, they are fired at,” he said. He said security forces were “deployed to protect people of Jammu and Kashmir but now they have become a source of danger for them.” “Our brothers were holding peacefully protest and demanding justice from senior officials of BSF for the sacrilegious act by the BSF troops, but they were instead fired upon and killed brutally,” the protesters said. They were holding placards which read: ‘Holding protest is the fundamental right of every human being’ and ‘security forces have no right to fire upon peaceful protestors.’ Similarly over 1000 people took out a protest rally at Talab Khatinka after Friday prayers. The rally passed through main markets of the area and culminated at the starting point. The protestors are also urged the shopkeepers to down their shutters. The protesters accused the district administration and police for the killings and said it were they who ordered the security forces to fire on the protestors. The protestors demanded immediate suspension of Deputy Commissioner Ramban and SSP.
CHENAB VALLEY Eyewitnesses said hundreds of youth assembled at Jamia Masjid Doda at around 10 am, raising slogans against the government and BSF. Condemning the alleged disrespect to Quran and killing of four persons in Gool, the villagers marched towards the main township, which was observing a complete shutdown, amid pro-freedom slogans. The protest turned violent when a contingent of police tried to stop the protesters from marching towards DC office. As the police resorted to cane-charge and teargas shelling, youth pelted stones in turn.
Around 13 persons received minor injuries in the police action, locals said, adding, another protest demonstration was held immediately after Friday prayer in the township. Similar clashes broke out in Bhaderwah township as well but the situation was under control. Two cops were also injured in Doda and Bhaderwah. One Havaldar identified as Satesh Kumar suffered injury when a protestor threw a bottle at him, sources said. Protests were held in Banihal and Ramban township but the day passed off peacefully without any reports of violence. Locals said thousands of people assembled on Jammu-Srinagar highway at Banihal and raised anti-BSF and pro-freedom slogans. They strongly condemned the Gool incident. The protesters kept the highway blocked for more than four hours and several local religious leaders addressed the gathering. However, the protesters dispersed peacefully after Friday prayers.
Kishtwar township wore a deserted look as all shops and other business establishments remained closed. Hundreds of youth assembled at Jamia Masjid and took out a protest demonstration. However, no untoward incident was reported. Similar protest demonstrations were held across Chenab valley region including Gandoh, Bhallesa, Bonjwan, Thatri, Chatroo, Batote and Chanderkote.
PIR PANCHAL Series of protests were also witnessed across the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch as people in large numbers took to streets to lodge their strong resentment against Gool incident in which four people were killed and 42 others were injured in firing by BSF. Reports from different areas of the twin districts said people held peaceful protests and also observed a bandh against the killings. In border district Poonch, protests were held at Mandi, Surankote, Mendhar and Poonch town. Poonch market also observed a bandh and people of both the communities condemned the incident. Various Muslims organizations had called for peaceful protests against the Gool killings demanding stern action against the guilty. The protesters termed the incident as condemnable and demanded a high-level enquiry to bring the culprits to book. In Mandi and Surankote, processions were taken out by the people after prayers.
Similarly, protests were also held at Mendhar and Poonch. Sensing the gravity of the situation, DDC Poonch Sajad Ahmed Khan and SSP Poonch, Shamsher Hussain convened a meeting of prominent citizens of Poonch and discussed the situation at length. They urged the people to maintain peace and age-old communal harmony.
Almost similar reports poured from Rajouri district. Muslims across the district assembled at local Jamia Masjids and took out a peaceful protest demonstration.
The largest procession was held in Rajouri township but no untoward incident was reported.
WITH KHLAID GUL, SHIEK NAZIR, ALTAF BABA, SHAHID RAFIQ, SHOWKAT DAR, AHMED KASHMIRI, MEHBOOB KHAN/Jammu Bureau.