- ADC Ramban’s guard opens fire on protesters
- Official detained with aides, vehicle set ablaze by protesters
- One of the injured persons in critical condition
- Women, children stage protests across Kashmir
- Militants address people in Kulgam, Bijbehara; BJP member quits party
- Banihal observes shutdown, Chenab valley to follow separatist calendar
A civilian was killed after a security guard of Assistant Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Ramban opened fire on protesters in Lethpora area of Pulwama district along Srinagar-Jammu Highway late Tuesday evening.
The deceased has been identified as Farooq Ahmad Kuchay of Lethpora. Two other persons were also injured in the incident. One of them, identified as Suhail Ahmad Wani, had gunshot wounds in the head and was stated to be in critical condition. Sources said Suhail also succumbed to injuries while being rushed to Srinagar for treatment, but it could not be confirmed till late night.
ADC Ramban, Babu Ram was on way to Jammu from Srinagar when his official Scorpio vehicle was stopped by some youth at Lethpora who were protesting against the arrest spree in the area. The youth had laid a road block. An eyewitness said as the youth moved towards the official’s vehicle, his security guard opened indiscriminate fire, killing one and critically injuring two other people.
The official and his security guard managed to flee from the spot and took refuge at a nearby CRPF camp. After the firing, angry protesters set ablaze the official’s vehicle and protests were going on in the area when the reports last came in.
Later, talking to Kashmir Post, SP Awantipora, Sridhar Patel said ADC Ramban has been detained along with other people accompanying him including the security guard who opened the fire.
However, he could not confirm any casualties. “As of now I cannot verify any casualties. I too have been hearing about the death of one person. I am in touch with the hospital authorities about the condition of the injured persons,” Patel added.
Meanwhile, women and children staged peaceful demonstrations at many places in Kashmir valley. Clashes were also reported from different parts of the valley even as authorities had imposed curfew in sensitive areas to quell the protests.
Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport remained off the roads for the 25th day of the unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. Shops opened in the evening after 6 pm as per the relaxation in the protest calendar issued by separatist leadership earlier.
In south Kashmir, which has witnessed maximum civilian casualties in the last over three weeks, peaceful protest marches were taken out by women and children at many places in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts of the region.
In their joint statement, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had asked women and children to come out and register their protest on Tuesday as part of the weekly protest calendar.
In Jablipora area of Bijbehara, hundreds of women and children raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. An all-women rally was taken out in Krangsoo area of Anantnag on the outskirts of the main town. Hundreds of women participated and dispersed peacefully afterwards.
Dukhtaran-e-Millat organized a protest rally in Larve area of Kakapora in Pulwama district which was led by separatist leader Yasmin Raja. In Kulgam district, women assembled and staged peaceful sit-in in Bugam village. Main town Shopian also witnessed protests by women and kids.
In Mattan area of Anantnag, police and CRPF men intercepted a road show and firing tear smoke shells and pellet guns to disperse the crowd. Many people left their vehicles and ran for cover. The vehicles were seized by police. At least three people were arrested.
In Achabal area of the district several people received minor injuries as clashes continued in the area throughout the day. Imam Sahib area of Shopian district remained under strict restrictions following recent violence.
Thousands of people reached Kanelwan area of Bijbehara following night protests against police highhandedness during nocturnal raids. Nocturnal protests against police aggression were also reported from Bijbehara, Kanelwan, Wopzan, Semthan, Jablipora and other areas in South Kashmir.
Public address systems of local mosques kept reverberating with slogans throughout the night as people kept vigil with reports of police and SOG raids coming in from many areas.
In Khodweni area of Kulgam district, militants left a huge gathering in tears today with a fervent appeal urging people not to betray them. “If you cannot join us and fight by our side, please don’t betray us at least,” said one of the three militants who appeared at Khodweni Chowk in broad daylight.
Two of the militants had their faces covered and they stood by while third one who made no attempt to conceal his face made the emotional speech. People raised slogans and wept as militants asked them to remain steadfast.
“We know many of us cannot pick a gun but then they don’t have to turn against us. Support us, stand by us,” the militants, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained, told the gathering.
He told people that unity was the need of the hour and everybody needs to contribute in one way or the other. “Please convey this to our leadership as well. They will have to stand united as well in these testing times,” he said.
Militants also appeared in New Colony area of Bijbehara and addressed a gathering. They told people to remain vigilant against a PDP member whom they accused of supplying drugs and alcohol to the local youth. They also told the people that certain youth are passing on information to the police.
“Action will be taken against all these people,” the militants said, adding, “There will be no further warnings now.”
The militants asked people to pass on information regarding people they think are working against the ‘tehreek’. “You just need to drop a letter at the Jama Masjid without revealing your identity. We can take care of the rest.” The militants opened aerial fire near the house of PDP coordinator and Chief Minister’s cousin, Mufti Sajad.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader Ghulam Hassan Zargar who unsuccessfully contested 2014 assembly polls on the ticket of saffron party publicly resigned during a rally at Budgam area of Kulgam during a pro-freedom rally.
In the summer capital Srinagar, women organized candle vigils at some places. An 80-year-old woman was also witnessed holding a “we want freedom” banner during the protest held at Abi Guzer area near Lal Chowk.
Dozens of women took to streets after Asar prayers and started protesting against the government for killing and injuring the youth of Kashmir. A protest rally was taken out from Kashmir University’s Moulana Rumi Gate towards the Hazratbal shrine.
Protests were also reported from Humhama, Guru Bazar, Umar Colony Nowgam, Habbak, Chattabal, Bemina, Sariabal, Peerbagh, Amira Kadal, Habba Kadal, Saida Kadal, Maharaj Bazar, Rainawari, Barbarshah, Soura, Hawal, Pantha Chowk, Sanat Nagar, Batamaloo and Rawalpora.
Dozens of members of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association staged a protest against the civilian killings and use of pellet guns on protesters in Srinagar.
The lawyers were holding placards reading slogans like ‘Go India go back’ ‘Don’t blind innocents’ and ‘respect human rights of Kashmiris’.
They demanded a ban on the use of pellet guns by government forces on protesters in Kashmir. The lawyers also called for UN intervention on Kashmir.
In North Kashmir, women staged protests at different places including Pattan, Sopore, Nowpora, Hajin, Kaloosa, Bandipora, Kupwara, Trehgam and Seelo.
Four people received pellet injuries at Trehgam. Reports said two of them were shifted to Kupwara hospital for treatment. The locals also accused forces of damaging public property and harassing people in Shumnag and Warsun areas.
In the evening, hundreds of people took out protest march from Drugmula, Lolab and Kralpora areas of Kupwara district after police started arresting youth in the area. Police have also arrested scores of youth from Shumnag area.
Police sources said 12 youth have been arrested in Kupwara district. They said the night raids would continue till normalcy is restored in the district.
Clashes broke also out between youth and forces in Bandipora district in the afternoon. Eyewitnesses said forces intercepted a protest rally near Madar village which was heading towards Bandipora town from Arin and Sumbal areas of the district.
Forces used teargas shells to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes.
A huge procession was taken out by people from adjoining areas of Pattan area in which according to eyewitnesses over 30,000 people participated. The procession assembled at Singhpora Pattan and later on moved towards Srinagar-Baramulla road.
A complete shutdown would be observed in Kishtwar district on Thursday as a mark of protest against civilian killings in Kashmir. The bandh call was issued by Imam Jamia Masjid Kishtwar Farooq Ahmad Kitchloo after presiding over a meeting held under the banner of Markazi Majlis Shoura Committee.
Banihal town would also remain closed for next four days to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. The decision to observe shutdown for four days was taken by Beopar Mandal Banihal and Imam of central Jamia Masjids Banihal.
Beopar Mandal Banihal and Imam of Jama Masjid Banihal have also decided to follow the protest calendar issued by joint separatist leadership.
Police said the curfew would continue in some areas of south Kashmir while restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPc (Criminal Procedure Code) will remain in force in Srinagar city and other districts.
Officially imposed curfew and protest shutdown called by the separatists through weekly protest calendars have crippled life in Kashmir since 9 July , a day after Hizbul commander, Burhan Wani’s killing.