One dead, dozens injured in clashes

One dead, dozens injured in clashes

10 February 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: A protester died and dozens were injured as fresh clashes broke out in Kashmir valley for the second day today in the aftermath of hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for carrying out attack on Parliament in 2001 and was hanged yesterday. In the meantime, curfew continued for second consecutive day today in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley to prevent protests against Guru's hanging. One protester drowned in river Jehlum in village Waskura when para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), were chasing a group of protesters in North Kashmir's Bandipora district. Locals said that there were clashes between CRPF and protesters since morning in the area and when troops chased a group of protesters they boarded a boat that capsized. The dead has been identified as Tariq Ahmad Bhat son of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat of village Batwina. However, a police spokesman said here that a boat which was ferrying people from Batwani to Wangipora, Sumbal over river Jehlum capsized. 'Six persons sailing in the boat fell in the water. Five persons were rescued; however, one drowned. The body of deceased was fished out and handed over to his relatives for last rites', the spokesman added. The death led to fresh protests in village Batwani as hundreds of people of the adjacent villages also poured into the village to join the villagers in protests. The situation in the area was tense. Five protesters were injured, two of them critically, when the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel fired at stone throwing protesters at Watergam in Rafiabad in district Baramulla this evening. Officials said that a CRPF party was on their vehicles in the village came under stone pelting and they fired back at the protesters injuring 5 of them. A police spokesman identified them as Ubaid Ahmad Rather son of Mushtaq Ahmad, Sajad Ahmad Bhat son of Zahoor Ahmad, Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat son of Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, Rayees Ahmad Sheikh son of Bashir Ahmad and Ather son of Ghulam Mohammad, all residents of Watergam. 'The spokesman said that they received injuries while forces were tackling a law and order situation in village Watergam', he added. The spokesman said that among the injured Ubaid Ahmad and Sajad Ahmad have been referred to SKIMS, Soura Srinagar for treatment while the other three are being treated at the local hospital. He said that Ather was discharged after being given first aid. Soon after the firing the villagers from the adjacent villagers also poured into village Watergam leading to fresh protests. One protester Khursheed Ahmad Mir was injured in the central Kashmir township of Kangan as the Police and para-military CRPF fired tear smoke at the stone throwing protesters in the township. He was removed to Kangan hospital for treatment. Reports of clashes between police and CRPF and protesters were reported from Muslim peer, Batpora, Rahim Sahib, Sangrama, Khanpora Baramulla, old town Baramulla, Binner, Ladoura, Bandipora and parts of Kupwara during curfew restrictions in North Kashmir. One Jameel Ahmad Sofi son of Ghulam Mohammad Sofi was injured in clashes in Baramulla when a tear shell hit him. He was removed to hospital for treatment. Clashes were also reported from several parts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam this evening. Police used batons and tear smoke to disperse the protesters. Meanwhile, the curfew continued for second consecutive today without any relaxation and people were confined to their homes only. However, people with medical emergencies were being allowed to hospital by the security forces deployed across major towns and in Srinagar city. The Police and CRPF had erected barricades and used concertina wires to block the main roads and sensitive by-lanes. The Mobile internet service remained down for the second day as a precautionary measure and news channels were also not being aired by cable TV operators. However, broadband services of BSNL were functioning normally. All national and regional news channels on local cable service remained suspended across Kashmir valley since yesterday after curfew was imposed. However, the entertainment, sports and movie channels were functioning. The newspapers also failed to hit stands this morning due to curfew across Kashmir valley especially in Srinagar city. Over 100 daily newspapers are being published from Srinagar. Majority of them had not published their editions as they say police had asked them against publishing their newspapers. Police teams arrived at the printing presses of most of the local daily newspapers and asked the managements not to publish the newspaper. Though no written orders were issued to the media groups, the managements were verbally asked not to publish the newspapers, the newspapers in their internet edition alleged. However, three newspapers Daily Kashmir Images, Daily Chatan and Kashmir Reader had published their print editions today but they were confiscated by the police. Kashmir Editors Guild spokesman condemned the confiscation of the newspapers and demanded that the newspapers should be allowed to function normally. The Government didn't issue curfew passes to the media persons so far and majority of them have been confined to their homes and some are putting in offices only. Earlier, some senior police officers had told journalists that their Identity cards will be treated as curfew passes but majority of them have not been allowed to travel in curfew.