School, resthouse gutted in Kulgam; clashes continue on 61st day of shutdown in Kashmir
4 soldiers injured as militants ambush Army convoy in Kupwara
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Sep 7: While as a school building and a government resthouse on Wednesday gutted in the clashes between the separatist protesters and the Police in Kulgam district, demonstrations and clashes continued unabated on 61st day of turmoil, following Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8.
Residents in Mirhama village of Kulgam told STATE TIMES that the protesters clashed with Police and CRPF for several hours as hundreds of people had gathered to stage a demonstration. They said that around 50 protesters sustained injuries in the clashes. According to them, a tear gas canister fired by Police and CRPF fell on the premises of Jawahar Novodaya Vidhyalaya. The school building and a parked vehicle caught fire and gutted partially.
However, officials claimed that the school building, as well as a van on the premises, was set on fire by the crowd of stone pelters. They said that just six or seven demonstrators sustained minor injuries in the clashes.
In the same district, some miscreants reportedly lobbed a petrol bomb on a government resthouse at Chawalgam where a crowd had torched PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house on August 30. Sources said that the resthouse caught fire and it gutted partially.
Reports said that over 40 demonstrations and clashes between protesters and Police and security forces took place on Wednesday across Kashmir valley. Around a hundred people reportedly sustained minor injuries in these clashes. Almost all shops and business establishments and many of the government offices remained closed as the Valley observed shutdown on 61st consecutive day on the call of separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.
Attendance was remarkably thin in the government offices. Traffic was as usual off the road, with the exception of a small section of private vehicles. Reports said that the stone pelters enforced shutdown at several places. At the end of the day’s shutdown at 6.00 pm, some shops opened and traffic began plying on the roads.
Meanwhile, in the second guerrilla strike in the valley plains after Burhan Wani’s death, four soldiers of Army were injured when militants ambushed a Srinagar-bound convoy near Wudipora, Kralgund, in Handwara area.
Sources said that the militants escaped. All the four injured soldiers were airlifted and rushed to Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar for medical treatment. Official sources said that three of them were critical.
Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman Burhan-ud-din claimed in telephonic calls to local news agencies that the militants of his organisation killed two soldiers and left four others injured.
Defense Spokesman, Colonel N N Joshi, said that two army men were injured after militants attacked the convoy. “Injured troopers were shifted to the hospital for treatment and are stable,” he said. He said that Army has condoned the whole area and has launched a massive search operation.
A spokesman of the Zonal Police Headquarters said that barring some stray stone pelting incidents, the overall situation remained under control throughout the valley.
“Four incidents of stone pelting were reported from Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Kupwara,” he said adding that, at these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles, police and security force deployments.
He said about 300 miscreants assembled at Mirhama and pelted stones on police and security force deployments and set ablaze Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala School which suffered damages. “Miscreants also hurled a petrol bomb on State Rest House, Chawalgam which resulted in fire and partial damages to the rest house,” he said and added that the miscreants also pelted stones on the police and security forces.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]