In the aftermath of the Burhan Wani killing the district Budgam witnessed massive protests which forces tried to quell by resorting to force that resulted in killing of eight persons.
As per data collected, 257 were injured in clashes with forces’ at different places during past three months of uprising in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district –which was once considered to be a ‘peaceful district’.
Protest rallies have been carried throughout the length and breadth of the district though the intensity of these protests has been on decline in wake of massive clampdown by the government – for almost two weeks now.
Those killed include four people from Aripanthan village of Magam area one each from Chadoora, Khansahab, Wadwan and Kawoosa villages of the district.
The killing spree began at Nagam Chadoora where Muhammad Maqbool Wagay (35) of Lolipora village fell to bullets on August 5 (that is on 27th day of unrest) on the same day another youth from Malnoora Khansahab identified as Sameer Ahmad Wani (24) was injured during Khansahab Chalo who latter succumbed to injuries at SMSH hospital on the same day. While Javaid Dar of Wadwan sustained grave injury in his right thigh at Narbal on the same day. Reportedly, 90 people had sustained injuries mostly pellets during day long clashes in the district on this date and their number rose to 112 on August 6.
After the gap of mere 11 days, four more civilians fell to bullets at Aripanthan, where forces allegedly opened fire on protesters in the early morning of August 16 (38th day of unrest). Those who lost their lives in Aripanthan bloodshed were identified as Javaid Ahmad Najar 19, Javaid Ahmad Sheikh (25), Manzoor Ahmad Lone (25) and Muhammad Ashraf Wani (35) of the village.
Calling that morning incident a “frightening nightmare”, a group of youth told Greater Kashmir that among the injured Farooq Ahmad Bhat has been battling for life at the hospital.
On September 11, death of another youth added to the toll of deaths in the district when injured Javaid of Wadwan village succumbed at SK Medical Institute Soura after going under treatment for more than a month.
Doctors at the SKIMS had said that a bullet had torn apart his “popliteal artery” which had necessitated the amputation, and resulted in renal failure leading to his death.
Another youth Muhammad Muzzafar Pandit (22) of Kawoosa Check died of infection after pellets hit his eye during clashes at his village on September 15 (3rd day of EID). He breathed his last at Soura Medical Institute on October 1.
Medical Superintendent of SKIMS , Syed Amin Tabish had said that they received Muzaffar in a critical condition. “We tried to save him but he expired within 90 minutes after reaching the hospital. He had developed septicaemia (Severe infection)”, he said.
The killed persons used to be the breadwinners of their respective families which now have been rendered helpless. “We have a belief that their sacrifices will one day lead us all to our desired destination (Freedom)”, said the victim families.
Those Killed In Accidents Amid Unrest
Besides these people, a man from Gagarpora Narbal namely Muhammad Yousuf Khanday (27) who on September 30 had sustained severe skull injuries in a road accident amid stone pelting, after the bike he was on, rammed into a barricade (placed by protesters) at Kawoosa bus stop on Srinagar – Gulmarg highway. He died at SK Medical Institute Soura on October 3. Whereas, “Abdul Ahad Ganaie (40) of Hardupanzoo area of Arizal Beerwah died after his throat was sliced by a wire laid across the road by the miscreants. He was on his way to home when the accident took place on Arizal Beerwah road.” According to officials.
Freedom Rallies Foiled
Forces foiled dozens of pro freedom rallies at various places of the district in past three months of the unrest, reports said. At least 15 people sustained injuries at Rathsun village of Beerwah when forces foiled Itihad e Milat conference on September 11.
At least eight motorcycles were also allegedly torched by the forces at this rally, eyewitnesses recount. Another pro-freedom rally was foiled at Razwein Dangarpora where dozens received injuries. Although few were organized peacefully, reports said.
Pertinently, Beerwah, Adina, Kanihama, Mazhama, Kawoosa Hardupanzoo, Narbal , Mirgund, Ompur, Nasarulahpora places of the district had been hot bed of clashes where maximum number of people sustained injuries, reports said. Whereas protests were also taken out at Khansahab, Khag, Rathsun, Charar i Sharief, Nagam, Wathoora, Panzan, Budgam , Dardpora, Razwein, Kremshora, Wadwan , Souibugh ,Sozeth, Shunglipora and Badran areas of the district, however , these protests remained peaceful by and large, reports added.
“Of the total 257 injured people, 28 had sustained bullet injuries that were treated at various hospitals of the district. While 167 people sustained pellet injuries among which 29 had received pellets within or around their eye(s), others include 62 till October 7,” said a senior health official of the district wishing anonymity.
This data includes injured security personnel as well, he added.
He said that 88 people with grave injuries including multiple pellet victims were referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment.
“40 Injured were brought to Chadoora SDH on a single day on August 5 when intense clashes had broken out in the area here”, revealed officials records.
At least three persons mostly teenagers who had sustained pellets in eyes in the initial days of unrest at Adina Magam had to rush to the different hospitals of Amritsar Punjab as they couldn’t be treated at valley hospitals, said the victim families.
“It cost me around Rs 1.5 lac for the treat of my pellet victim son and on check up. I had spent all my saving on his treatment as his eyesight is everything to our family”, said father of a pellet victim of wishing not to be named.
Worth to mention here that besides these official figures hundreds of youth sustaining pellet injuries managed to remove pellets at local medical shops. Life in the district has came to standstill during these three months of agitation and shops and other business establishments and government offices wore a deserted look while as community schools were thrown open at various religious centers of the district mostly in peripheral areas, reports said.
Comparatively, Budgam district had been a peaceful district during the unrests of 2008 and 2010 as people hardly hit the streets.
Although protest took place then also- but hardly there were such intense clashes between forces and protesters and none had died during these agitations.
“But this time the unrest touched the boundaries of the district out of expectations,” said a group of people from the district. “At many places with few exceptional areas people faced the brunt of nocturnal raids and vandalism by the forces that were mostly unprovoked”.
Government has launched a massive crackdown against the protesters in the district and has booked at least twenty one people under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged them at different places of the state.
In Magam-Beerwah area at least 11 people have been booked under the act while as 7 in different areas failing under Budgam police station besides 3 people in Police sub division Char-ie-Sharief. “53 people have arrested besides 25 bound down in police sub division Char ie Sharief,” a senior police officer said.
“Most of these have been booked on charges of stone pelting and instigating clashes and unrest in the various locations of the district. The grounds of detention allege that during the ongoing turmoil these (booked people) played an active role in advocating, abetting and inciting people of the district to hold demonstrations against the established government.” reads one of the dossiers.
Activists of different organizations collected vegetables, fruits, clothes and money from people of the district to assist those whose relatives were killed and for those injured during protests.