Day 3: Shutdown, Clashes, Protests Continue

Day 3: Shutdown, Clashes, Protests Continue

2 July 2013
Kashmir Times
Syed Yasir

Srinagar: Police has arrested a key witness Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh a tipper driver of Markundal village for questioning after he claimed to be an eyewitness to the killing of a youth Irfan Ahmad Ganaie. A complete shutdown, clashes and protest demonstrations were held for the third consecutive day today at Bandipora, Sumbal, Hajan, Ajas and its adjoining areas of North Kashmir in protest against the killing of two youths allegedly by Army on Sunday. Police sources said Manzoor was taken into custody for questioning after he claimed to the local villagers that he is the eye-witness of the firing incident in which Irfan Ahmad was allegedly killed by army. Although, there was no official confirmation about his arrest, yet the police sources said Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh was taken into custody as eye-witness by Sumbal police to investigate the case. “We have taken him into custody to question him about the incident. We have started the investigation on the case on fast track basis to identify the people behind the incident. We have also received some inputs from the local villagers of Markundal about the firing incident. We are on job to solve the case as early as possible,” said a senior police officer to Kashmir Times. Sources further said Sheikh also a villager of Markundal village was close to the site of the incident, when Army men allegedly caught Irfan and later fired at him after he had mistakenly considered the Army men in civilian clothes as cow lifters. Meanwhile, for the third consecutive day today, shops, schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed at most of the areas of district Bandipora and Ganderbal, while as public transport was partially off from the roads. The attendance in government offices and banks was thin. The police and CRPF men were deployed in every nook and corner of Bandipora, Markundal, Hajan and various other areas to thwart any protest demonstration. The police and CRPF laid razor wires at some road junctions. Armoured vehicles were placed at various roads. However, there was no curfew in the area today. The state administration had imposed the curfew yesterday in various areas of Sumbal and its adjoining areas to prevent people from holding demonstrations against the killings. For the third consecutive day today, a large number of people, particularly youths tried to assemble at main Chowk Bandipora and Papa Chand area to hold protest demonstration against the killings, but the large contingent of state police and CRPF which were deployed in the town in large numbers for the last couple of days, did not allow the people to assemble. The youths pelted stones towards police and CRPF. The forces also lobbed dozens of tear smoke shells to disperse the agitated youths. The ding dong battle continued for several hours. The youths in small groups from narrow lanes pelted stones towards the police and CRPF, the forces also pelted stones towards the agitated youths. At Markundal village also, the situation was tense like previous two days. The people of Sadri Koot Bala immediately after Fajar prayers (morning prayers) offered Fathia (special prayers) on the graveyard of Irfan Ahmad Ganaie and held protest demonstration. The protest demonstrators later visited the residence of the Irfan to offer their condolences with the bereaved family. The protesters shouted slogans in favour of Azadi, Islam and against Army, police and state government. The protesters were demanding that that Army should be immediately arrested who are directly responsible for the killing. The people at Hajan, Safapora, Sumbal and its adjoining areas today again witnessed minor clashed with police and CRPF, when they tried to hold protest demonstrations against the killing. The youths pelted stones towards the forces, which were also responded with stones. The heavy deployment of police and CRPF did not provide much chance to the protesters to assemble and held protest demonstrations. The authorities deployed heavy contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on roads in Bandipora and other towns after people tried to come out on roads to protest against the killings. The most of the roads leading to Sumbal and Bandipora were witnessing a deserted look. The public transport was almost off from the roads. However some private vehicles were playing on the roads.