TROOPS GO BERSERK, OVER 100 WOUNDED; PROTESTS THROUGHOUT VALLEY
ARIF SHAFI WANI and GOWHAR BHAT | Greater Kashmir, Sep. 8
Srinagar, Sep 8: The protests against a youth’s killing were responded with brute force on Monday when troopers of paramilitary CRPF thrashed people irrespective of age and fired indiscriminately on people at Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Bagh-e-Mehtab and Varmul, wounding over hundred persons. At least 19 persons sustained bullet injuries. The incidents triggered massive demonstrations in various parts of the city with people demanding action against the accused troopers.
NOWHATTA MAYHEMAt least 30 persons, four of them critically, were injured when the troopers of CRPF went berserk and opened fire on a group of people at Nowhatta Monday evening.
“We were offering Asar prayers when cops smashed the window panes of the masjid. We rushed out and asked the cops reason for attacking the masjid. However, the cops asked the CRPF men accompanying them to open fire. They aimed their guns towards us and opened fire. There were screams and blood all around…,” the witnesses said.
They said four persons, one of them identified as Tariq Ahmad Shah son of Muhammad Sidiq Shah of Saidapora sustained bullet injuries in the shootout.
“As Tariq, who was hit by a bullet on his neck, was writhing in pain, the troopers continued to hit him with rifles butts. They tried to drag his body towards the police station,” witnesses said.
Earlier, Nowhatta turned into a battleground when hundreds of youth shouting pro-freedom slogans attacked the police station there with stones. Demanding action against the police officer who killed Javid Ahmad Bhat yesterday, the protesters engaged the troopers in ding dong battles throughout the day.
However, when the protesters reached near the police station, the CRPF troopers went on rampage firing dozens of rounds to disperse the mob. Eyewitness said after the protests, the troopers caught hold of many youth including kids and severely thrashed them. The pitched battles were going on in the area when reports last came in.
BATTLEGROUND SAFA KADAL
Two persons were injured when the security guards of Dr Jalaluddin, who heads the cardiology department of SK Institute of Medical Sciences, opened fire to disperse the protesters who intercepted his vehicle near Sekidafar Chowk. “On seeing a huge mob approaching towards the vehicle. Dr Jalal’s PSOs opened fire injuring two persons,” eye witnesses said.
Meanwhile, violent clashes took place between protesters and police at Safa Kadal and its adjoining areas, including Zampa Kadal, Chattabal, Kak Sarai and Karan Nagar. However when a large contingent of CRPF reached the spot they resorted to firing and fired several tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. Dozens of people were injured in the incident.
The inhabitants of Sekidafar in Safa Kadal locality accused that the CRPF troopers of beat many people without any provocation. “Soon after the morning prayers, the troopers barged into our houses and smashed the window panes,” the locals alleged.
They said the CRPF troopers barged into a masjid in the area and ruthlessly beat up the Imam, Ajaz Ahmad. He sustained head injuries and was later shifted to SKIMS.
Soon after the incident, angry youth took to streets to protests the troopers’ atrocities. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, they staged protest demonstration and blocked the roads and fought pitched battles with the CRPF troopers. The troopers opened fire injuring one youth, Abid Ahmad, who received a bullet in his left arm.
The troopers thrashed many locals when they were collecting food grains from a ration depot in the area. In the onslaught, the store in charge of the Safa Kadal ration depot, Muhammad Yousuf and a shopkeeper Imtiyaz Ahmad were also injured.
Reports said later in the evening, the troopers of CRPF barged into several house at Ganderpora, Zadi Masjid and Nowpora areas of Seki Dafar and thrashed the inmates.