SRINAGAR: Indian police have injured 40 innocent civilians during a house to house raid in Anchaar area of Soura in Srinagar on Thursday.
An elderly man who sustained teargas shell injury is battling for life at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital, while four youth received serious pellet injuries in their eyes and are being treated at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, Srinagar. The police claimed its 35 men were also injured in the incident.
It is 117th day of freedom fighter Burhan Wani’s martyrdom which has unleashed an spree of intense protests across Kashmir demanding resolution of the disputed land.
The news of injuries at Soura spread massive clashes in various parts of Kashmir including South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Pampore areas. Old Srinagar areas witnessed clashes against the forces’ action at Anchaar. At least 70 people sustained injuries in the day-long clashes with the forces across Kashmir, said Kashmir Global.
An eyewitness accounted: “As the clock ticked 10 in the morning, two police vehicles stopped at the famous shrine of Jenab Sahab (RA) at Soura.”
Residents said: “Within no time, a heavy contingent of CRPF personnel arrived at the spot in their vehicles along the police men from various police stations that include Zadibal and Zakura.”
Showkat Ahmed, a resident of Anchaar said the forces cordoned two localities, TaplooMohalla and ShalbafMohalla, and asked the youth to board the police vehicles without creating any fuss.
“The forces’ diktat triggered anger among the residents; with youth, children and women hitting streets amid pro-freedom slogans. The policemen fired dozens of teargas shells and pellets on protestors, triggering massive clashes,” Ahmed said.
He said that the protestors resisted the police drive to launch door to door searches to arrest youth.
“Massive clashes started at noon and remained on till 4 pm. We didn’t allow the forces personnel to enter our homes,” a group of residents said.
They said that youth from various adjoining areas came in support of the residents of Anchaar and Soura.
“We heard people especially youth coming in our support from Nowhatta, 90-feet road, Nowshehra and other areas forcing the police and CRPF men to call off the operation.”
Eye-witnesses said over 40 protestors were injured in the forces action while four youth sustained grave pellet injuries who were identified as MehrajudinKoundoo, Hilal Ahmed Taploo, Abdul Majeed War and Ishfaq Ahmed. Mehraj was hit by pellets in his eyes, eye-witnesses said.
Residents of Soura said that 70-year-old Ghulam Ahmed was hit by a tear gas shell in his head and was admitted at the nearby SKIMS. Doctors said the elderly man has grave head injury and is being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. The residents also accused the police and CRPF men of resorting to vandalism.
“The forces personnel broke the window panes of houses situated on the main road and also damaged private vehicles parked in lanes and by-lanes,” the residents said.
According to Kashmir Media Service, Hurriyet leaders and organizations have strongly denounced the use of excessive force by Indian forces during a crackdown at Anchar in Soura area of Srinagar.
The Chairman of Hurriyet forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in a statement issued in Srinagar, “After the crackdown, people took to streets protesting the harassment while teargas shells, pellets and bullets were fired upon them, resulting in critical injuries to scores of persons, who are battling for life in hospitals.” He termed the action as the worst example of state terrorism.
Senior leader of All Parties Hurriyet Conference, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi Al-Safvi in a statement in Srinagar denouncing the brutal action of Indian forces in Anchar expressed solidarity with the injured.
APHC leaders, Hakeem Abdul Rasheed and Farooq Ahmad Tauheedi, in their separate statements in Srinagar denounced the use of brute force by Indian forces in Sopre, Bandipora and Anchar and termed it the worst type of human rights violations and state terrorism. They said that India was using different tactics to suppress the ongoing liberation movement but would never succeed in its sinister designs.