Nearly a dozen people have been injured, most of them with pellets in the violent protests that rocked this capital city Srinagar as the authorities lifted the indefinite curfew after seventeen days. In Old City- considered to be the epicentre of the pro freedom movement- which was under strict curfew for nearly a fortnight amid fears of massive anti-India protests, hundreds of people, mostly young boys hit the streets this morning and staged pro-freedom demonstrations, witnesses told Kashmir Dispatch. The protesters assembled at Nawuet, Gojwor, Razay Kadal, Buher Kadal, Saraf Kadal, Safa Kadal and other places and fought pitched battles with the government forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF, witnesses said, burst teargas canisters and fired from the pellet guns to break up the anti-India demonstrations. However, the defiant protesters continued renewed attacks from the lanes and bylanes of the Old City turning it into a battleground. At least nine people, witnesses said, were injured in the fierce clashes. Seven of the youth hit by pellets were removed to SMHS hospital for treatment by the locals. Clashes also erupted in other areas of the city including Raenwor, Khanyar, Baba Demb, Nawpur and other places. Forces, witnesses said, fired pellets at the protesters after tear smoke shells failed to contain the protests. Witnesses said that three people sustained minor injuries in the clashes.
A protest rally led by youth to secure release of house-locked All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was also dispersed by police with batons and teargas canisters at Lal Bazar. Meanwhile, protesters and government forces are also locked in pitched battles in Habbe Kadal locality of the Old City. The clashes, witnesses said, broke out when police and CRPF men allegedly used force to break up a pro-freedom rally. In many localities, youth have put up barricades to restrict the vehicles of the government forces. Many Mosques were also resonating with Nasheeds (freedom songs). At Sekidafar, hundreds of people offered Zuhr prayers on the road and registered their protest against the killing of over fifty civilians by the government forces in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s death on July 8 in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
(Inputs from KD)
2015 Kashmir Despatch