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Jammu & Kashmir: Curfew stifles Kashmir
Srinagar, J &K, India, (Greater Kashmir): Authorities Thursday enforced a strict curfew in Kashmir to prevent protests against the killing of a civilian in old Srinagar Wednesday, while as protests and clashes erupted at some places leaving more than a dozen people including some force personnel injured.
Authorities have decided to continue the curfew on Friday as they have apprehensions of protests after congregational prayers.
Fearing protests against the killing of Altaf Wani, father of three daughters, in old Srinagar by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Wednesday, the curfew was imposed last night in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley.
Besides Srinagar, the curfew remained imposed in parts of Budgam, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Bijbehara, Islamabad, Kulgam and Pulwama. However, restrictions remained imposed in Shopian and Baramulla.
In old Srinagar, the authorities deployed heavy contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF to thwart any attempt of protests. The forces laid razor wire and erected barricades at roads and junctions to stop movement of people and transport. Armored vehicles were also seen at road junctions and joint parties of police and CRPF were seen patrolling the streets. Senior police and civil officers were seen visiting the curfewed areas of old Srinagar to assess the situation.
Residents said that police Gypsies fitted with loudspeakers early Thursday morning announced the curfew. They were urging people of old Srinagar to stay indoors and not to defy curfew.
The residents said nobody was allowed to offer morning prayers or buy milk in the morning. “Since 5 AM, we were not allowed to come out of our homes by the large number of police and CRPF personnel. We were stopped from offering prayers in the morning,” Abdul Rashid of Eidgah told Greater Kashmir. “Not to talk of main roads the forces have blocked the link roads to stop our movement.”
“I was not allowed to move for morning prayers. CRPF and policemen in large numbers were outside and they ordered me to move back,” said Abdul Khaliq, a Babademb resident.
In civil lines areas of Srinagar, the condition was no different. The forces have closed all the lanes and by-lanes to restrict the movement of people. Hundreds of forces personnel were seen patrolling streets in civil lines areas to foil any attempt of protest demonstrations against the killing of Altaf.
In Budgam district, large number forces were deployed to thwart any protest demonstration against the civilian killing.
Reports reaching here from central district of Ganderbal said that life remained paralyzed and complete shutdown was observed in the entire district. Amid complete shutdown, thin presence of officials was reported in the most of the Government and private offices in the district. The public transport was off the roads, but some private vehicles were seen plying on some roads in Ganderbal.
Forces remained deployed in market places of at Safapora, Sarch, Dhobipora, Manigam, Lar, Pandach, Nagbal, Tullamulla, Baroosa, Beehama Chowk, Tawheed Chowk, main Bazar Kangan, Court road Kangan, Jamia market Kangan and village market Kangan. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the district as the situation remained peaceful.
A strict curfew was clamped in all major towns of South Kashmir. However, in Shopian town only restrictions were imposed.
In Islamabad (Anantnag) town, police and paramilitary forces armed with sophisticated weapons and wearing riot gears were manning the streets. Witnesses said that forces had erected barricades and has blocked roads with concertina wires at various places leading to Mohallas and even in lanes and by-lanes there was a heavy deployment.
“Nobody was allowed to venture out of their houses and whosoever tried to do so was beaten to pulp,” residents of several localities of curfew bound south Kashmir told Greater Kashmir. They added that people couldn’t even get baby food and milk.
In Iqbalabad area of Islamabad (Anantnag) town, people alleged that the CRPF men without any provocation barged into several houses. “They beat up the inmates and smashed the window panes of several houses,” the locals told Greater Kashmir over phone. Curfew was also strictly enforced in neighboring Bijbehara town.
In Kulgam district curfew was strictly enforced in Kulgam, Kaimoh and Khudwani towns.
In Pulwama town forces were deployed in strength to enforce curfew and people were not allowed to venture out.
Restrictions were also imposed in Rajpora, Pampore, Awantipora and Tral towns of the district.
In Shopian town though there was no curfew but forces were deployed in strength to thwart any attempts of protests. Sporadic incidents of stone pelting were, however, reported from certain areas.
Strict curfew was imposed from early Thursday morning in Bandipora town and its adjoining townships of Hajin, Sumbal and Naidkhai.
Early in the morning police announced curfew on loudspeakers and urged people not to venture out of homes.
Though no untoward incident was reported from any area but scores of youth took to streets amid of curfew in Hajin town of Bandipora to lodge protest against the killing of Srinagar civilian and marched towards Police Station where they hurled stones towards Army Goodwill School and a police bunker.
Reports said that as more youths start gathering in the area, police and CRPF intercepted them near Jamia Masjid triggering day long clashes.
Reports said that youth engaged police and CRPF in stone pelting which continued for whole day, though police earlier resorted to lathi charge but later fired several tear smoke shells to disperse protesting youth. However protesting and stone pelting continued till evening.
Huge contingents of CRPF and Police, reports said, were deployed in Bandipora town to clamp the curfew and people were not allowed to come out of homes in main town.
Locals from Kaloosa area of Bandipora told Grater Kashmir that Army had erected barricades in Kaloosa and were not allowing anybody to move inside the town limits. Youths, reports said, tried to stage protests in Papchan area but police dispersed them after they were pacified by elderly persons of the area.
Peaceful and brief protests were reported from Saderkoot, Ajas, Nowgam and Tragam and adjoining villages.
Late Thursday evening, a report from Hajin said that CRPF ransacked the market, broke the window panes and beat up people.
Reports said that soon after the incidents of stone pelting, CRPF personnel forced their entry into dozens of houses and beat the inmates. “They not only beat women and children but smashed the window panes and broke the doors of the houses. They even smashed the vehicles,” residents of Hajin told GK over telephone.
Reports reaching here from frontier district of Kupwara said that strict curfew was imposed in main towns from wee hours on Thursday.
Reports said that all major towns like Sogam, Lalpora, Trehgam, Kralpora, Vilgam, Handwara, and Langate witnessed complete shutdown.
Normal life was badly disrupted as all the business establishments, schools and shops were closed. Heavy deployment of CRPF and Police patrolled the roads throughout the day.
Meanwhile protests erupted in Langate area of Handwara Thursday. To disperse the protests forces resorted to tear gas shelling. Reports of protests and clashes in the evening were received from Handwara.
Healthcare in major hospitals of Kupwara was also severely affected due to curfew and shutdown.
Many patients failed to reach hospitals as public transport remained off the roads due to strict curfew.
Reports said that restrictions were imposed in Baramulla town of north Kashmir Thursday to prevent people from taking to streets.
Reports said the forces clamped restrictions in Baramulla town since Thursday morning. Reports added that forces closed all the bridges and erected barricades in the area to restrict movement of people and transport. The authorities didn’t allow anyone to cross over from old town to the civil lines area, reports added.
Reports from Sopore Tehsil of Baramulla district said that strict curfew remained in force and nobody was allowed to move. Reports added that hundreds of forces personnel were deployed to thwart any protests.
BITTA GURU ARRESTED:
Chairman JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik has strongly condemned the arrest of JKLF activist Imtiyaz Ahmad Guru alias Bitta and raids on the house of JKLF leader Noor Muhammad Kalwal.
Police raided the residence of Imtiyaz here today and arrested him. Police also raided residence of Noor Muhammad Kalwal and allegedly harassed his family.
POLICE VERSION: According to a police spokesman, situation remained
largely peaceful throughout the Kashmir valley, though there were isolated incidents of stone pelting at few places.
“Miscreants pelted stones at Kurhama, Badergund in Ganderbal and Safakadal in Srinagar. Police and security forces exercised maximum restraint while dealing with the law and order situations. Eight police personnel were injured during these incidents”, he added.
CURFEW TO CONTINUE:
Apprehending protests, the Government has decided to continue with curfew on Friday. “We have apprehensions of protests on Friday after prayers. We have decide to continue the curfew,” a senior police official told Greater Kashmir adding further decision will be taken Friday evening.
WITH SUHAIL AJMAL/ WASIM MAJNOON/SHAHID RAFIQ/KHALID GUL
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