11 killed in Police action as Kashmir burns on Burhan’s deathAmarnath Yatra suspended; Police stations torched; forces’ camps attacked by mobs; curfew and shutdown in entire Valley; troops flown in from Centre; mobile telephones and GPRS snapped; over 25,000 attend militant’s funeral while waiving Pakistani flags in Tral
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 9: Hizbul Mujahideen operational chief Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s death, alongwith two more militants of his outfit in Verinag in an encounter with security forces on Friday, evoked demonstrations and clashes in entire Kashmir valley on Saturday as 11 civilians got killed in the Police action and several Police stations and government installations were set on fire amid curfew and shutdown.
Official sources told STATE TIMES that in all eleven civilian demonstrators got killed---10 in firing by Police and paramilitary forces. One youth drowned and died in Lidder stream at Yanad (Akad) on Anantnag-Pahalgam Road while he was being chased away by ITBP and CRPF after a mob’s attack on the security forces. With 8 youths getting killed in Anantnag district, two in adjoining Kulgam and one in the adjoining Shopian, all the eleven fatal casualties took place in the ruling PDP’s stronghold of South Kashmir. Sources said that around 100 Police and paramilitary personnel and more than 120 demonstrators sustained injuries in the day-long ding dong clashes.
Almost all the separatist organisations had called for a total shutdown on Saturday even as Dukhtaran-e-Millat, supported by militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, had asked the Kashmiris to observe shutdown for three days. Late this evening, Hurriyat and other groups too extended the shutdown to three days. In apprehension of trouble and turbulence, authorities had already placed hypersensitive downtown Srinagar and several other towns under declared and undeclared curfew. Officials said that “restrictions”---euphemism for curfew---would continue on Sunday.
With the demonstrations breaking out immediately after Burhan’s death in the encounter on Friday, authorities had already put in place elaborate security arrangements in the most volatile Police districts of Awantipora and Pulwama in Pulwama revenue district. Officials expected a huge gathering to attend the slain militant’s funeral at Tral in Awantipore Police District. Consequently, no fatal casualty took place in Pulwama-Tral belt even as clashes were reported from several towns.
No fatal casualty took place till late on Saturday evening in Central and North Kashmir where clashes and demonstrations, including attacks on camps, took place at several places.
Valley reeled under shutdown and curfew as traffic was completely off the road and no shops, business establishments, educational institutions, banks or government offices opened for routine work. In apprehension of escalation of trouble and violence through social media, Internet by GPRS was snapped in entire valley while as mobile phones were completely shut down in South Kashmir.
Universities, recruitment boards and other institutions cancelled all examinations and interviews. All the train services were suspended. Authorities also suspended Amarnath Yatra and no pilgrim convoys and other transport was permitted on Srinagar-Jammu highway. Director General and Secretary Tourism Farooq Shah told STATE TIMES that all the tourists and pilgrims in the Valley were safe. He said that around 400 tourists were in Pahalgam, Gulmarg and other places and all of them had been asked to stay there and not to move towards Srinagar without seeking advise from the officers.
Official sources said that over 100 Police and paramilitary personnel and over 120 civilian demonstrators sustained injuries in the clashes all over the valley. Some deserted houses of migrant Kashmiri Pandits were reported set on fire by a mob at Hall in Shopian area while as PDP’s MLA Abdul Rahim Rather’s hotel was torched at Kokernag. At Damhal Hanjipora, a thick crowd attacked the Police Station, looted weapons and set the buildings on fire. Three Policemen were reported injured and three more missing.
A Police press release said: “Following the killing of three terrorists in Verinag yesterday, violent clashes occurred in various parts of the valley today. Unruly mobs attacked security forces, civil, police establishments, and vital installations throughout the valley.
“Violent incidents of arson and stone pelting were reported from various places including Achabal, Kokernag, Kund, Qazigund, DHPora, Vessu, Dooru, Sangam, Awantipora, Pulwama, Bomai, Sopore, Baramulla, Palhalhan, Pattan, Delina, Gantamullah, Sheeri, Kreeri, Lalpora, Bandipora, Narbal, Lasjan, Barzulla,Nowgam,Tengpora, Batamaloo.
“At many places the mobs forcibly tried to enter security force establishments with the intention to seize weapons and harm force personnel. Two police stations DH Pora and Achabal, Tehsil Office Kokernag and Police Post Kund, Qazigund, Range office DH Pora, Court Complex, DH Pora, Police Post Narbal and a fire tender vehicle of DHpora were set on fire.
“The mob looted weapons from Police Station DH Pora and police personnel were fired upon. Three police men are missing. The security force camps, police stations/posts of Sangam, Seer, Gopalpora, Mattan, Larnoo Kokernag, Dooru, Vessu, Janglat Mandi Behibagh Kulgam, Barzulla, Awantipora, Pulwama, Liter Pulwama, minority picket Hall Pulwama, Newa Pulwama, , Pattan, Baramulla, Palhalan, Gantamulla, Sheeri, Kreeri, Bandipora, Lalpora, Bomie Nowgam, Batamaloo, Police Post Humhama and, GO’s Mess Humhama were damaged.
“96 force personnel were seriously injured. The police and security force personnel used tear gas to disperse the crowds. At a couple of places during crowd control eight people Amir Bashir Khan of Veerinag, Dooru, Saqib Manzoor Mir of Khundroo Achabal, Aijaz Ahmad Thakur, of Siligam Ashmuqam, Mohammed Asif Dar of Halpora Kokernag, Showkat Ahmad of Hassanpora Arwani Bijbehara, Mohammad Safer Bhat of Cherigam Pahalgam, Bilal Ahmad Shah of Wagoor Dooru, Shah Danish of Achabal died”.
However STATE TIMES learned from responsible official sources that in all eleven persons got killed.
In the afternoon, Additional DGP SM Sahai said at a news conference that Police exercised maximum possible restraint even as 20 camps of security forces and Police were attacked, Police stations of Dahmhal Hanjipora, Kund and Achhabal were torched and 96 Police and paramilitary personnel sustained injuries.
People from different areas complained that Police and paramilitary forces went berserk, damages houses and parked vehicles, roughed up civilians and arrested hundreds of demonstrators.
Even as no authentic figures were available, official sources believed that more than 600 demonstrators were rounded up and detained in the Valley. All the separatist leaders were either detained or placed under house arrest.
At Tral, more than 25,000 people are estimated to have participated in Burhan Wani’s funeral though some separatist leaders insisted that the crowd was 40,000 strong. Eyewitnesses said that the militant’s funeral prayers were performed at a sports ground as some people kept Pakistani flags waving for television cameras. In all the demonstrations, participants shouted pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-Indian slogans
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]
Civilians killed in Police and paramilitary action
1: Saqib Manzoor Mir r/o Achabal, Anantnag
2: Khursheed Ahmad r/o Harwat Kulgam
3: Safeer Bhat Charigam, Anantnag (drowned)
4: Adil Bashir r/o Dooru, Anantnag
5: Abdul Hameed Mochi r/o Arwani Kulgam
6: Danish Shah r/o Achabal Anantnag
7: Jehangir Ganai r/o Hassan pora Bijbehara, Anantnag
8: Azad Hussain r/o Shopian
9: Aijaz Thokar r/o Siligam Anantnag
10: Mohammad Ashraf Dar r/o Kokernag Anantnag
11: Showkat Mir r/o Hassanpora, Bijbehara Anantnag