More than 200 people were injured in clashes between stone pelters and security forces in Kashmir on Sunday, on a day an all-party parliamentary delegation was in Srinagar to assess the ground situation in the valley where normal life remained paralysed for 58th consecutive day.
There was no curfew in the valley except some areas of Srinagar falling under the Police Stations of Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and M R Gunj, a police spokesman said.
Ten incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Awantipora and Sopore, he said.
In Shopian district of south Kashmir, clashes broke out in the morning and continued for most part of the day with protesters setting ablaze the mini-secretariat building which houses the deputy commissioner’s office, a police official said.
“In Shopian, a mob attacked and set ablaze mini secretariat Shopian. The fire was brought under control. However, the structure suffered partial damage,” he said.
The clashes erupted after police stopped people in Penjoora village of the district from taking out a rally, the official said, adding over 100 people were injured.
He said the security forces used baton charge and tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesters.
Clashes were also reported from Tral area of Pulwama district where more than 60 people were hurt in action by security forces against the stone pelters.
“In Tral, a huge mob pelted stones on the police and security forces. Some of the miscreants, when chased, entered a ziyarat (shrine) and again started pelting stones from the compound of the ziyarat,” the spokesman said, adding police “cautiously” handled the situation.
Protesters also attacked the house of ruling Peoples Democratic Party MLA from Tral constituency Mushtaq Ahmad Shah, breaking the window panes of the building.
“There were clashes between protesters and security forces in Tral and amidst those clashes, some miscreants attacked the house of Tral legislator Mushtaq Ahmad Shah with stones,” a police official said.
He said the protesters broke the window panes of the house, but no one was injured. The forces deployed in the area fired several tear-gas canisters and managed to disperse the protesters from the spot, the official said.
In Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, at least 25 people were hurt in the clashes during the day, the official said. Condition of three of the injured persons is stated to be critical.
Giving details of the violence, the police spokesman said “mobs assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles and later on at police and security force deployments”.
On Saturday, protesters in the neighbouring Kulgam district burnt a house of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party block president Gulzar Ahmad who had facilitated a meeting of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti with the family of a victim of security forces firing in the district.
Mehbooba visited the family of Late Mashooq Ahmed, firing victim of Kund, Kulgam and offered heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on Saturday.
Normal life in the Valley remained paralysed for the 58th day as restrictions continued in the rest of the Valley which has been hit by violence triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.
“Curfew remains in force in five police station areas of downtown Srinagar,” a police spokesman said.
He said curfew in these areas of the summer capital continued as a precautionary measure in view of the call given by separatists asking people to occupy Airport road, city centre Lal Chowk and district headquarters against the all-party delegation’s visit.
Due to the restrictions and separatist-sponsored shutdown, shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut during the day. They are opened only in the evening. Public transport continued to be off the roads.
As many as 71 persons, including two police personnel, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the clashes between protesters and security forces in the Valley since Wani was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir on July 8.
Image: Protesters hurled stones at police officials leading to clashes between the two. Photograph: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com