Day 4: Protests, Relaxation Punctuate Curfew

Day 4: Protests, Relaxation Punctuate Curfew

12 February 2013
Rising Kashmir
Sheikh Saleem

Srinagar: At least seven persons were injured during fresh protests in Kashmir against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Protesters breached restrictions at several places in North Kashmir even as curfew remained in force for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday across the valley. Meanwhile, after reviewing the situation, authorities announced relaxation in some parts of Srinagar city, Handwara and Budgam town. Three persons have died while over 50 others including 23 cops have been injured in the clashes since Saturday, when Guru was hanged inside Tihar Jail in Delhi. Additional forces have been deployed at vulnerable spots following the clashes. FIRING IN BARAMULLA Four persons were injured when police resorted to aerial firing and fired rubber bullets on protesters in Sheeri Baramulla. Two critically injured youths were referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar. Eyewitnesses told Rising Kashmir that police opened fire on protesters near Sheeri to ensure smooth passage of the cavalcade of Minister of Health and Medical Education, Taj Mohi-ud-din. “At around 11 am, police and paramilitary troops resorted to aerial firing in Sheeri market without any provocation,” said an eye witness. “The firing lead to protests in the market after which police opened direct fire on the protesters,” he said. Official sources said injured protesters received rubber bullets above the waist. “Three of the four injured have received rubber bullet injuries on head and neck,” they said. The injured have been identified as Rashid-ul-Islam, son of Ghulam Muhammad Sheikh; Arif Hussain, son of Abdul Qadir Mir; Adill Ahmad Sofi, son of Abdul Rasheed and Muzamil Ahmad, son of Abdul Qayoom. In Sopore, the home town of Afzal Guru, evening protests erupted in several villages. Protests were reported from Batpora, Balpora, Kralteng, Achbal, Old Town and Doabgah. Youths engaged police in pitched battles till late evening while police resorted to tear shelling and also used pepper guns to quell the protests. PROTESTS IN SOPORE Protesters also defied curfew in Bandipora town during which youth pelted stones at policemen. The youth defied curfew at Papchan and main town and pelted stones at policemen when reports last came in. Police lobbed tear smoke shells and also resorted to aerial firing to quell the protests. Three persons were injured in the clashes. Residents of ward 2, 3 and 4 and Papchan alleged that police and paramilitary troops barged into their houses and broke the window panes. Evening protests were also reported from old chowk Kupwara where police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the protesters. RELAXATION In Srinagar, authorities relaxed curfew for three hours in areas under the jurisdiction of five police stations including Raj Bagh, Ram Munshi Bagh, Kothi Bagh, Saddar and Shergarhi from 4 pm to 7 pm. In Saraf Kadal, protests erupted late evening. Police lobbed tear shells to quell the protests. However, no injury was reported till reports last came in. Curfew was also relaxed in Handwara town of north Kashmir's Kupwara district from 2 PM onward and in central Kashmir's Budgam town from 4 PM onward. No untoward incident was reported during the relaxation. PROTESTS IN SOUTH In South Kashmir protests were reported from several areas in the evening. As authorities removed the deployment from the town in the evening, youths came on roads and engaged police in ding-dong battles at Reshi market, Mattan chowk and Lal Chowk. Protests were also reported in Muran chowk, Pulwama. MLA LANGATE DETAINED Member Legislative Assembly, Sheikh Rashid continues to be in detention at Handwara police station for the fourth day after he was arrested while leading a procession against the execution of Afzal Guru. Talking to Rising Kashmir over phone from Police station Handwara, Rashid said, “India seems to be afraid of democratically elected representatives too who speak against oppression. India was advising Hurriyat to contest polls but they are arresting even MLAs; they stand exposed. They seem to be afraid of every Kashmiri.” MLA from Langate constituency of north Kashmir brought a resolution in Assembly in 2011 against Guru’s death sentence. Speaking to Rising Kashmir from the police station, Rashid said National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are doing drama over the Guru execution. “If they would have shown a little interest we could have passed a resolution for his clemency,” said Rashid. “I feel like India has won and Kashmir has lost. We should accept the defeat openly,” he said.