Authorities Wednesday heightened its security across Kashmir particularly in South Kashmir districts to foil the resistance camp’s Kulgam Chalo call while in a bid to stop them from marching towards Kulgam, senior resistance leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik were detained. Geelani was already under house detention while police on Wednesday morning placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest.The JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik, who was also supposed to lead the march to Kulgam was arrested and lodged at police station Kohthibagh. Malik was arrested on Wednesday to prevent him from marching towards Kulgam, said a spokesman.He said that a police party raided the residence of Malik in Maisuma and arrested him.A procession was taken out from historical Jamia Masjid in which hundreds of people participated. Amid pro-freedom slogans, when protesters reached near Naqashbandh Sahib Shrine, police stopped them and disallowed them to move ahead. Reports said that protesters dissipated peacefully.Witnesses said police and paramilitary CRPF men had placed concertina wire on main roads in different parts of Kashmir, virtually sealing all the entry points leading towards Kulgam.
Eyewitnesses told news agency CNS that strict restrictions were imposed in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district and its adjoining areas. A large number of policemen and Para military Central Reserve Police Force personnel were manning the roads in South Kashmir districts including Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. Situation turned ugly in Pulwama when government forces resorted to aerial firing to disperse agitated protesters who marched towards police station and pelted stones on government forces. Witnesses added that during the massive clashes between the protesters and the government forces in Pulwama, several persons were injured. Locals alleged that police apprehended three students while they were on way towards Coaching Institute.Reports said that due to clashes, shopkeepers downed their shutters while transport disappeared from Pulwama roads. Locals alleged that CRPF smashed the windshields of dozens of parked vehicles. “CRPF went on rampage in Muran Chowk, Rajpora Chowk, Dangarpora and Pricho areas and damaged the parked vehicles and motor-cycles,” said an eyewitness.
Though there was no call for shutdown on Wednesday, South Kashmir’s Anantnag district witnessed a partial shutdown. There was skeletal movement of traffic on the roads while government forces were deployed in strength at Lal Chowk and KP Road to thwart protests. Reports of shutdown poured from Hajin and Kralgund Handwara of North Kashmir. The shut down according to eyewitnesses was observed in honour of four militants who were killed in two separate encounters at Hajin and Handwara. All the shops and business establishments remained shut while transport remained off the roads. Reports said that a large number of youth hit to roads at Langate Handwara and clashed with government forces. The clashes according to reports continued for hours.Reports said that Bijbehara, Kokarnag and Pahalgam town also witnessed partial shutdown. Stone-pelting incidents were reported from Gorivan and Arwani Chowk on Srinagar Jammu Highway in Bijbehara.A police official said that barring few incidents of stone-pelting the situation across Kashmir remained peaceful. (CNS)