SPO’s house torched in Kulgam amid growing attacks on Police
Handwara youth dies in hospital; scores of clashes, demonstrations on 59th day of shutdown in Kashmir
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Sep 5: With the Valley drifting further into mayhem and the mob attacks increasing on the residences of Police officials and mainstream political activists, unruly separatist crowds have torched a Special Police Officer’s house in Kulgam area of South Kashmir even as an injured youth has died in hospital and scores of clashes have been reported in Kashmir on 59th consecutive day of shutdown on Monday.
Informed sources told STATE TIMES that the separatists had called for a congregation at Zanglipora, Kulgam. Police and security forces disrupted the march and clashes continued for over two hours between the demonstrators and Police. During the intermittent clashes, an unruly crowd set on fire house of one SPO, Javed Ahmad Shah, who was reportedly posted in Kulgam. People alleged that he was among the Policemen “committing atrocities” on the unarmed protesters. Police claimed he was on frisking duty and without arms as such there was no question of his committing any atrocities. His house suffered extensive damage.
In the last two months of turmoil, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, angry separatist protesters have burned down properties of a number of mainstream political activists, Police personnel and counterinsurgents. They include PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Nazir Ahmad Laway whose house was torched, alongwith four weapons of his guards, at Chawalgam on August 31. On September 3, the house of PDP’s Block President Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh was torched at Batpora, Kund.
A prominent counter-insurgent’s house in Kulgam, Police Station and CJM’s court at Damhal Hanjipora, Kulgam, were set on fire in the beginning of the current turmoil in July. Over 40 weapons of Police also perished in the fire that destroyed the Police Station.
According to reports, scores of Police personnel, including SHO Kulgam, have been threatened and a number of them have got themselves transferred to relatively safer areas in other districts and ranges. The worst demoralisation and sense of insecurity among Police and pro-India political workers has been reported from Kulgam district.
Death toll reaches 74
Sources said that a 17-year-old youth, Mussaib Majeed Nagoo of Sonwani, Handwara, who had got critically injured during a clash with CRPF on Sunday, breathed his last at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, on Monday evening. With this fatality, death toll in the last 59 days of turbulence has reached 74.
Superintendent of Police, Sopore, Harmit Singh, told STATE TIMES that Mussaib had fallen on Wadora-Sonwani Road, in Langate area of Handwara, and his head had crushed against a stone when CRPF chased a crowd of the stone pelters. He said that the stone pelters had created barriers on the road with quarry stones to break the speed of the CRPF while launching daily attacks on a paramilitary camp at Wadora.
SP Sopore said that CRPF evacuated the injured youth to Sub District Hospital of Sopore wherefrom he was referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment. Admitted at SMHS Hospital, Mussaib died on Monday evening. SP said that there was no pellet, bullet or tear gas shell injury on the youth’s head or any other part of his body.
Meanwhile, near-total shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley on 59th day of the turmoil. Traffic was off the road and almost all shops, business established and educational institutions remained closed. Attendance was remarkably thin in the Government offices which functioned at district headquarters.
Reports said that scores of separatist demonstrations and clashes took place in almost all the ten districts in the Valley. Separatists’ rallies and local calls for a march to particular villages are now spreading to Budgam district in Central Kashmir and Baramulla and Bandipore districts in North Kashmir. In Budgam, two of such rallies were organised at Aarth and Khanpora. Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hassan was held in house arrest so as to ensure that he does not create more trouble with his attendance in these rallies.
Official sources said that over 50 protesters sustained injuries in dozens of violent clashes. However, none of them was reported critical. Pro-Pakistan flags were invariably waved at all the rallies as the participants shouted pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]