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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Policeman, civilian gunned down in Kulgam, 2 more injured

Around 100 protesters, cops injured as crowds mount attacks on Police and CRPF on 35th day of shutdown, curfew all over Kashmir valley
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 12: While as the violent crowds on Friday---35th day of continued shutdown, curfew and clashes in Kashmir valley after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8---left scores of Police and paramilitary personnel injured in more than a hundred clashes, unidentified militants gunned down a selection-grade constable of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and a civilian and left two more civilians injured in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that two unidentified militants on a motorcycle appeared at Chansar, in Chawalgam area of Kulgam district, late on Friday night and opened fire from an AK-47 rifle on selection-grade constable Manzoor Ahmad Parray who was at a shop close to his residence. Parray and a civilian, Farooq Ahmad Dar, died on the spot and two more civilians, namely Hamid and Bilal, sustained injuries. Rushed to hospital, Parray and Dar were declared as ‘brought dead’.

Superintendent of Police Kulgam, Mohammad Irshad, confirmed the death of Parray and Dar. He said that Parray was posted in District Police Anantnag. He had reached his home on leave a few hours before the shootout. Both the suspected militants drove away without any resistance from the people.

The gunmen, widely believed to be militants, struck on Parray within a week of the threat delivered by two overground workers of a militant organisation at a public meeting at Ghat Khudwani. According to the reports available with Police, two persons of Kelam village, namely Khursheed and Javed, had asked the gathering to attack and kill any Police officials whether on duty or in civvies at home. No militant outfit claimed responsibility till late on Friday night.

Meanwhile, unruly crowds engaged Police and CRPF in violent clashes at scores of places all over Kashmir valley even as dozens of the protest demonstrations passed off peacefully.

Officials maintained that the reports were still pouring in and the statistics were being tabulated. They, however, asserted that around 150 demonstrations and clashes took place in all 10 districts of Kashmir valley on 35th day of continued shutdown and curfew after Burhan Wani’s death on July 8. According to officials, 48 injured civilians reported at different hospitals while as the number of the injured Police and CRPF personnel was believed to be 50 to 70. None of the injured was reported as critical.

All shops and business establishments, almost all Government and private offices, educational institutes, banks and other businesses remained closed while as transport was completely off the road. Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for total shutdown and asked the Kashmiris to hold ‘peaceful demonstrations’ at all mosques after performing Friday congregational prayers in the afternoon.

Authorities enforced curfew in Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Tral, Ganderbal, Bandipore, Sopore, Pattan, Baramulla, Handwara and Kupwara while as restrictions remained in force in other major townships and district headquarters.

In Central Kashmir, the most violent clash took place at Arhama in Ganderbal district where around 20 civilians and equal number of Police and CRPF personnel were injured. At Eidgah Qadeem Baramulla, around 1500 residents put up a demonstration while waving ISIS black flags. A Pakistani flag was seen fluttering on a mobile tower in the same area. Demonstrations were also reported from Sopore and Rafiabad areas.

In Srinagar, clashes took place between the unruly crowds and Police and CRPF in downtown as well as several places in uptown. Reports said that the demonstrators clashed with Police bitterly in Soura, Rainawari and some other places. A fierce clash continued for about five hours between the demonstrators and the Police and CRPF at Mirgund Crossing, close to DC’s and SP’s office in Budgam. Over a dozen Police and CRPF personnel were reportedly injured. In retaliation to stone pelting, Police and CRPF fired over a hundred teargas canisters but they did not use AK-47 rifles or the pump action guns, known as the pellet guns.

Budgam emerged as the most disturbed district as a number of clashes took place at Mirgund Crossing, Sebdan Crossing, Budgam to Mirgund and Tekipora, the least affected areas of militancy and the mass agitations of 2008 and 2010. Reports said that a crowd of over 3,000 people drawn from nearly 20 villages gathered at Mirgund and clashed with Police and CRPF while pelting stones and shouting pro-Pakistan and pro-Azadi slogans for more than four hours.

In South and Central Kashmir, demonstrations and clashes also took place at Tral, Bijbehara, Srigufwara, Pirbagh, Hyderpora, Humhama, Ompora, Budgam, Nasrullahpora, Beerwa, Aru, Aripanthan, Khag and Adina. Internet and Mobile phone services remained suspended even as BSNL’s landline, broadband and post-paid mobile services operated.

Fifty-five persons, including two Policemen, have got killed and over six thousand wounded in the clashes between the violent crowds and Police/ security forces since Burhan’s death on July 8.

Police version

More than three dozen incidents of stone pelting were reported from different districts of the Valley including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora. Curfew was imposed in Srinagar and in the towns of Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Baramulla and Sopore, a Police spokesman said.

“After Friday prayers miscreants assembled at various places and tried to disrupt the vehicular movement. At most of the places the miscreants started pelting stones on moving vehicles, police and security force deployments. The deployments exercised utmost restraint despite severe provocations at a number of places. Many police/security force men have been reported injured during these clashes”.

“At Arhama Ganderbal miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on security forces. While tackling the situation six persons were injured. At Drooru Tangmarg about 300-400 miscreants assembled on road and pelted stones on police and security forces. Two persons were injured, one of whom was shifted to Srinagar. At Uttrsoo Anantnag,  miscreants pelted stones on police and security forces. While dispersing the mob, four persons suffered minor injuries who were discharged after first aid from the hospital”.

[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

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