Curfew lifted after 51 days but separatists enforce shutdown with stone pelting
Dy SP among hundreds who were beaten up for violation of Hurriyat call and whose vehicles were damaged on streets; Over 100 clashes reported across Valley
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Aug 29: Authorities on Monday lifted curfew, first time after July 8th encounter in which militant Burhan Wani had got killed in Kokernag area, from entire Kashmir valley with exception of two Police Stations in downtown Srinagar and one in Pulwama, but the separatists were quick to enforce their call for shutdown with stone pelting at different places. Around 200 people were reportedly injured in over 100 clashes between the separatist demonstrators and the Police.
Officials said that curfew remained in force only in the jurisdiction of Nowhatta and M.R. Gunj Police Stations in downtown Srinagar and Pulwama in South Kashmir. Government’s curfew and the separatists’ shutdown have run parallel to each other since the day three militants, including Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, were killed on July 8. Seventy people, including three Police personnel, have got killed and thousands injured in the 52-day-long turbulence.
Reports said that most of the shops remained closed as usual. However, several shops were found open in different markets. Even in Batmaloo area of Srinagar hundreds of street vendors resumed business after 51 days even as Hurriyat had called for continued shutdown. Private vehicles were seen plying on different roads including in the capital city.
However, around 11.00 a.m. groups of youths appeared at different places and they enforced shutdown while pelting stones on vehicles and shops and roughing up and snubbing many of those who had come out in defiance of the separatists’ call. According to official sources, hundreds of people were roughed up and their vehicles were extensively damaged, mostly after withdrawal of Police and paramilitary deployment at 6.30 p.m. Even the pharmacies, which have been exempted, closed down in the evening.
Sources said that Deputy SP CID Headquarters Mubashir Ahmad was among the people who were stopped by unruly groups of youths near Gandhi Memorial College in Fatehkadal area of Srinagar in the afternoon. Masked youths smashed the windscreen of his private car. The Police officer in civvies got down and attempted to remove the mask from a youth’s face. Others of the group attacked him and he was mercilessly beaten up. He sustained injuries and his arm got fractured.
Later, the Dy SP, who was not luckily recognised, was evacuated to Police Hospital where he was given medical treatment. Officials said that he was on way from his home to office when he was stopped and questioned for defying the separatists’ shutdown call.
In near-total breakdown of Police and administrative machinery all over the Valley for over 50 days, most of the Police officials have been travelling with fake civil or official identity cards. Fearing mob attacks, Police and security forces’ movement has been drastically restricted.
Reports said that around 200 protesters and Police and paramilitary personnel sustained injuries in over 100 clashes across Valley. While as around 50 clashes took place in the capital city, another 50 clashes were reported from remaining nine districts. Most of the people were reportedly injured in Budgam and Bandipore district. In Sumbal area, residents complained that Police and CRPF barged into their houses, roughed up inmates and damaged doors and windows.
Meanwhile, according to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir, following improvement in situation, curfew was lifted from all parts of Kashmir valley this morning except Pulwama town and the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police station M R Gunj and Police Station Nowhatta.
The statement said that minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. “These incidents were reported from Guzarbal, Babademb, Saidpora, Batamaloo, Chanapora in Srinagar, Sangam in Anantnag, Gandwani, Shol Batango in Kulgam, Nadihal Chowk in Sopore, Brambari, Rekhipora in Kupwara and Kaloosa in Bandipora,” the statement said adding that some miscreants pelted stones on police and security force deployments in these areas.
“Except for these incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control throughout the Kashmir valley till filling of this report. Greater movement of traffic and people was observed across the valley including the city Srinagar,” it said.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]