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Thursday, August 25, 2016

CRPF C.O, ASP, DSP, SHO among 17 injured in mob-militant attack in Pulwama
Rajnath’s 2nd visit begins with 68th death of 47 days of Kashmir turbulence

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 24: With South Kashmir drifting further, as many as 17 persons, including a Commanding Officer of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and an Additional Superintendent of Police, sustained injuries in a joint attack from a crowd of demonstrators and some suspected militants while as a young protester got killed in the Police action at district headquarters of Pulwama on Wednesday when the union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar on his second visit in a month. With this, death toll in the unceasing turbulence of last 47 days, after the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter on July 8, has reached 68.

Exactly when Rajnath Singh was landing in Sringar, a major clash took place between protesters and Police and CRPF at Pinglena on the outskirts of Pulwama town on Srinagar-Pulwama Road. Deputy Commissioner Muneerul Islam told STATE TIMES that fearing a huge gathering of separatists and possible violence at Pruchoo, on periphery of the district headquarters, Police and CRPF had already decided to disallow a congregation. Local separatists had called upon the people to gather at Pruchoo for paying tributes to Burhan Wani and other militants, besides around 70 civilians killed in the last 7 weeks of turbulence.

“In violation of the prohibitory orders, people from different villages poured in amid stone pelting and clashes at around eight places. At Pinglena, the unruly crowds clashed with Police and CRPF and attempted to force their passage to Pruchoo. In retaliation to intense stone pelting, Police and CRPF used tear gas and pump action guns to disperse the crowds. It was during this clash that three of the protesters got injured. One of them later succumbed to injuries”, DC Pulwama said.

The 19-year-old student, Amir Gul Mir s/o Ghulam Mohammad Mir of Ratnipora, is the 68th person killed in the 47-day-long turbulence in the Valley after Burhan Wani’s death. Amir had sustained critical injuries and a part of his spleen had been removed by surgery when, on February 14, security forces had opened fire on a civilian crowd during the course of a counterinsurgency operation at Lelhar. Two young civilians - twenty-year-old Shaista (MA Urdu student) and 18-year-old Danish (B Tech student of IUST) - had died in the firing. Aamir was among the protesters who had sustained injuries. He had been lately discharged from hospital.

Sources said that two more protesters rushed to hospital with pellet injuries were stable.

With the restrictions enforced around Pruchoo, organisers made announcements on public address system of mosques in over a dozen village around Pulwama, asking people to gather at the alternate venue of a stadium near Degree College. Amid chaotic conditions, thousands of people in the rally marched towards the town. They clashed with Police and CRPF when their way was blocked close to the College entrance. When the clash was underway, Police said, suspected militants lobbed a hand grenade that exploded in front of a Police-CRPF contingent.

Commanding Officer of CRPF 183 Bn, Vinay Anand Prakash, Additional SP Azhar Baba, Dy SP Shafeeq Ahmad and SHO Pulwama Inspector Aadil besides 13 others, including 8 constables, sustained splinter injuries. The four injured officers were evacuated and airlifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital for medical treatment. Others were treated at District Hospital Pulwama.

However, some people who were part of the demonstration, insisted that militants did not toss any grenade on the CRPF-Police contingent. They claimed that some explosive device in Police and CRPF possession went off and that caused minor injuries to the officers.

Sources said that in all, 40 civilian protesters were injured in Wednesday’s clashes in Pulwama. Thousands of people participated in Aamir’s funeral prayers, held at least three times.

While as over 10,000 people put up a demonstration at Pulwama, around 6,000 gathered at Verinag. The rally was telephonically addressed by senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Reports said that pro-Azadi, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans were shouted in both the rallies while as several participants waved Pakistani flags.

Significantly at Verinag, over a dozen former Panches and Sarpanches announced that they had severed their allegiance to all the mainstream political parties.

At Eidgah in Malangam village of Bandipore, over 3,000 people gathered to listen to some local separatist leaders who asked the audiences to continue shutdown as per the calendar issued by separatist leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik.

At Cement Bridge in Baramulla town a crowd of less than 200 people shouted pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans before clashing with Police and CRPF.

Official sources insisted that around 200 civilians sustained injuries of different intensities in a chain of clashes across Kashmir valley on Wednesday. These sources said that clashes and demonstrations took place at over 50 spots across valley. At Eidgah Turkawangam, separatists addressed a rally.

A Delhi-bound passenger, Shahid Habib Bhat of Nagam Chadoura, was arrested at Srinagar airport. He was whisked away to an undisclosed destination.

Police version

According to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters, Kashmir, eight incidents of stone pelting were reported from Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.
The statement said during stone pelting near Degree College Pulwama, militants hiding in the mob fired and hurled two grenades on the deployment resulting in injuries to 17 police and CRPF personnel and some civilians. “The injured include CO 183 Bn CRPF, ASP Pulwama, DySP Pulwama and SHO Pulwama,” the statement added.
It further reads that at Pinglina, Pulwama miscreants assembled on road and started heavy stone pelting on the police and SF deployment. In order to clear the road and chase the miscreants, Police/Security forces were compelled to use some force, which caused injuries to few miscreants. “One of them identified as Amir Gul Mir son of Ghulam Mohammad Mir resident of Ratnipora succumbed to his injuries, the statement said. In this incident a number of police and security forces personnel were also injured,” the statement added.

It said that except for these incidents, the overall situation across the valley remained under control till filing of this report. “Apart from some police stations of Srinagar and town Anantnag there was increased movement of traffic on roads in rest of the valley,” the statement added.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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