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Saturday, August 27, 2016

On August 24, Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have jointly issued a fresh calendar calling for continued shutdown till September 1, 2016. Virtually running a parallel government, the separatists have warned Divisional Commissioner, all Deputy Commissioners and all Heads of Departments “not to threaten the employees in any manner” failing which their names would be published for social boycott. For the first time after a similar programme in 2010, which had been withdrawn after then Corps Commander Lt Gen Ata Hasnain conveyed a direct threat to SAS Geelani, the separatist leaders have said that on August 27 “Joint Resistance Leadership will march towards 15 corps of Indian Army at Badami Bagh, Srinagar and ask the GOC to vacate Jammu and Kashmir”.


26th August, Friday

(Relaxation from 10 pm to 6 am)

·        Azadi March to Eidgah Srinagar

·        Join for Azadi March to Eidgah Srinagar;

·        Move from every Mohallah, Village, locality, Tehsil and District towards Eidgah Srinagar;

·        Offer Friday prayers at Eidgah Srinagar;

·        Play Islamic and Azadi Taranas in Masjids from Magrib to Isha.

 27th August, Saturday

(Relaxation from 6 pm to 6 am)

·        Letter to Indian armed forces (Army, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF)

·        Joint Resistance Leadership will march towards 15 corps of Indian Army at Badami Bagh, Srinagar and ask the GOC to vacate Jammu and Kashmir;

·        Come to Masjids during night for one hour (10 pm to 11 pm), Offer prayers for freedom of Jammu & Kashmir.

 28th August, Sunday

(Relaxation from 6 pm to 6 am)

·        Assessment Drive

·        Resistance/Masjid committees in all villages and localities visit each and every household and prepare a list of the needy;

·        Also visit the families of martyrs and injured, prepare a detailed list of the family and their needs;

·        Make arrangements for their support

29th August, Monday

(Relaxation 10 pm to 6 am)

·        Lockdown all government offices except essential service

·        Except for essential services, lock down all government offices and don’t allow movement of any employee towards these offices for joining. Divisional Commissioner, all Deputy Commissioners and Heads of all Departments are warned not to threaten the employees in any manner. Otherwise list of all such officers will be made public for comprehensive social boycott;

·        Play Islamic and Azadi Taranas in Masjids from Magrib to Isha.

30th August, Tuesday

(Relaxation from 6 pm to 6 am)

·        Women’s Protest

·        Assemble and occupy local chowks and centers from Zuhr to Asr in the vicinity of your mohallas, villages and localities;

·        Protest peacefully

31st August, Wednesday

(Relaxation from 6 pm to 6 am)

·        Occupy Highway and Inter-district Roads

·        Assemble and occupy highway from Banihal to Salambad Uri and all other inter-district roads from 11 am to 4 pm;

·        Offer Nimaz-e-Zuhr on roads.

1st September, Thursday

(Relaxation 10 pm to 6am)

·        Stop Propaganda War Machinery of Indian State

·        Block all the roads towards and around the institutions of propaganda war machinery viz., Doordarshan, Radio Kashmir and Information Department, ensure no employee is allowed to enter the premises by occupying the roads around;

·        Play Islamic and Azadi Taranas in Masjids from Magrib to Isha.

 Directions for all the days

Ø Protests be held across Jammu and Kashmir.

Ø Shutdown across J&K on all days except the relaxation mentioned in the program.

Ø Lockdown all the routes entering your mohallas, villages and localities by every means during night to protect people in general and youth in particular from the raids and arrests by Indian forces and J&K police.

Preface to the protest calendar sent by Hurriyat (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

"As a war has been waged against us by a mighty force, our only means of resistance against the oppression is peaceful protest. The space for that is also highly constricted. Yet individually and collectively we have to find ways and means of registering our protest. The protest calendar is our collective voice. Each one of us especially our intelligentsia, artists, poets, writers, painters have to come forward and use their skills and creativity to express our pain and sentiment. Every Kashmiris contribution to the movement counts”.


Youth killed as CRPF opens fire on procession marching towards Pulwama Pandit colony

Over 100 demonstrations, clashes across Valley as death toll rises to 69 on 49th day of turbulence. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz lodged in Chashma Shahi hut.

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz                                                      


SRINAGAR, Aug 26: Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Friday opened fire which left a 19-year-old student dead and 12 more demonstrators injured when a procession in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district was marching towards a colony of the Kashmiri Pandits at Hall---on Srinagar-Shopian Road.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that after conclusion of Friday afternoon prayers, a procession of the residents of Nikus and adjoining villages began marching from Jamia Masjid of Nikus towards Hall. After treading a distance of one mile, the peaceful procession was signalled to stop by CRPF 183 Bn at its barrier near the old deserted colony of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits. Sources said the CRPF officials feared an attack on the new settlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in the same village where the Government has accommodated around 200 migrant families who have secured jobs with mandatory posting in Kashmir under Prime Minister’s special package.

According to reports, most of the inhabitants of the protected settlement have lately returned to Jammu and other places and they have been demanding posting in Jammu division, contrary to their contractual obligation.

A fierce clash ensued between the demonstrators and CRPF. Amid intense stone pelting from the unruly crowd, CRPF opened fire from AK-47 rifles and pump action guns. A 19-year-old student, Shakeel Ahmad Ganai S/o Ghulam Mohammad Ganai R/o Chandpora Nikus, got killed and 12 others sustained pellet injuries. All the injured were rushed to Srinagar and admitted to SMHS Hospital for treatment. Doctors said two of them had grievous injuries. The firing from CRPF forced the procession disperse.

Shakeel had lately appeared in CET but failed after passing his class 12th examination with 80% marks. Son of a chowkidar, he had two brothers and two sisters besides his parents. With this fatality, death toll in the 49-day-long turbulence, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, has reached 69 including three Police personnel. Police or CRPF did not issue any statement on the killing and procession in Pulwama. Officials maintained that one person had got killed and 12 injured in the demonstrators’ clash with CRPF.

Deputy Commissioner of Pulwama Muneer-ul-Islam did not respond to repeated phone calls from this newspaper. However, residents said that the people in the procession had apparently no plan or intention to attack the Pandit settlement. They, however, admitted that the demonstrators shouted pro-Pakistan, pro-Islam, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans and many of them carried Pakistani flags.

Residential village of some famous Pandit lawyers and a retired judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Hall stands marked for development as a ‘cultural village’ in the Culture and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu’s annual budget for 2015-16 and 2016-17. It falls in his Assembly constituency of Rajpora.

With curfew continuing in parts of the summer capital, Pampore, Pulwama and Anantnag towns and shutdown in rest of the Valley on 49th consecutive day, authorities foiled the separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s and Yasin Malik’s call for march to Eidgah. While as Mirwaiz was taken into custody and, for the first time, lodged in a Forest hut at Cheshma Shahi, close to Raj Bhawan and Nehru Guest House, other prominent separatist leaders were held either at a Police Station or under house arrest.

Sources said that over a hundred demonstrations and clashes took place across the Valley on Friday. Around 50 civilians and Police and paramilitary personnel were reportedly injured in the clashes. Demonstrators carried and waved Pakistani flags while shouting pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans in all the demonstrations.

While as four Pakistani flags were found installed at a mobile tower at Gulnar Park, Azad Gunj, in Baramulla, JKLF founder leader Maqbool Bhat’s brother Zahoor Ahmad Bhat installed the ‘Azad Kashmir flag’ at his residential village of Trehgam in Kupwara district.

Clashes between protesters and Police/CRPF took place at Mirgund, Khag, Beerwah and Bagh-e-Mehtaab in Budgam district, Kanlibagh and Hygam in Baramulla, Aloosa and Ongam in Bandipore, Naghama and Baig Mohalla (Kralgund) in Kupwara, HMT Crossing Srinagar and Bab Mohalla in Shopian.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Friday, August 26, 2016

Rajnath, Mehbooba claim Kashmiri children are being used as human shield in clashes with forces

‘Stone pelters are only 5% of the population and we will deal with them under law’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Aug 25: Taking a tough stand in one voice, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday claimed that ‘vested interests’ were using young Kashmiri children as a human shield in the current spell of violence and clashes with Police and security forces.

Hardening her unexpected stand---that was initiated by the BJP ally Sajjad Lone and PDP’s Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Baig in the last 10 days---Mehbooba asserted at her first Press conference after taking over as Chief Minister in April this year that less than 5% of the Valley population was involved in stone pelting and clashes with Police. She said that her Government would deal with the violent crowds under law and would not allow them to hold hostage rest 95% of the population. "Nothing will come of attacks on Police and the camps of security forces", Chief Minister asserted.

Mehbooba alleged that some people were using these young children as human shield and encouraging them to clash with Police and security forces. She claimed that the forces were observing maximum restraint and using minimum force in which, unfortunately, the young children in the fore front were getting hit. She nevertheless clarified, in response to a journalist’s question, that 95% of the population in Kashmir was in favour of “seeking a peaceful resolution to the issues”.

Uncharacteristic of her, ever since she made her foray in politics 20 years back, Mehbooba asserted that the youngsters who were hit by pellets, bullets or teargas shells had not gone to buy milk or toffees at an Army camp. Implicitly her argument was that the retaliation from the forces was a natural corollary and in self-defence for which the 'instigators', not her government, was responsible.

On his Janamashthami fast, Rajnath joined Mehbooba at the press conference that was held at the end of his two-day visit at the Chief Minister’s Fair View residence on Gupkar Road on the 48th day of the continued turbulence triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's death in an encounter on July 8. He had earlier visited Kashmir on July 23 and 24 and met over 40 delegations of politicians, traders and some members of the civil society. None other than the mainstream politicians called on him today as some of his July 24 guests had been reportedly beaten up for defying the separatists' call. 

Even as Rajnath was calm and composed all through the press conference and his conduct was remarkably impressive, Mehbooba took umbrage on a journalist’s question who paralleled current street turbulence to that of 2010 and alleged that Mehbooba and then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had "swapped roles". He suggested that both were equally responsible for “killing” of scores of the Kashmiris, mostly teenagers.

“Don’t compare today’s situation with 2010. That time, there was fake encounter of Machhil”, Mehbooba grumbled. She said that current turbulence was the result of a genuine encounter in which three militants had got killed and her government was “in no way responsible”.

Making it once again clear that his Government’s efforts to seek resolution of the Kashmir problem would remain confined to the framework of the Indian constitution, Rajnath said that he was open to a discussion for anybody. He invoked the famous Vajpayee mantra of ‘Insaniyat, Jumhooriyat aur Kashmiriyat’ but invoked a caveat that India’s future was interlinked to that of Kashmir. “If Kashmir has no future, India has none”, Rajnath said. He said that whenever a Kashmiri youth or a security forces jawan dies in Kashmir, entire India feels the pain. “Don’t view India’s future separate from that of Kashmir”, he asserted.

While echoing Mehbooba’s contentious claim that young children from the poor families were being "exploited and misled" and pushed into the clashes and violence, Rajnath asked the Kashmiris to identify the people responsible for it. He implored the people of Kashmir to stop their children from falling in the trap of the vested interests. He disclosed that an all-party delegation would soon visit Jammu and Kashmir to start dialogue with a cross-section of people in the state.

Rajnath claimed that the Narendra Modi Government was seriously concerned about the chaotic situation and turbulence in Kashmir and pointed out that the Indian Home Minister was for the first time on his second visit in the Valley within a month. He regretted the loss of life in Kashmir but added that as many 4500 personnel of security forces and Police had also got injured in the clashes.

"Security personnel have been told to exercise restraint, and they are exercising maximum restraint while bearing the brunt of protestors. As a result, 4500 security personnel have been injured. I would like to appeal to everyone to not forget the role of security personnel during floods (of September 2014)," Home Minister said.

Rajnath said that an alternative to the pellet gun would be introduced immediately after a panel of experts would submit its report to the Government in the next three or four days. He said that in addition to raising a full battalion of Central paramilitary forces from the J&K youths, around 10,000 unemployed youths were currently being engaged as Special Police Officers.

Earlier, Rajnath held an hour-long meeting with the Chief Minister at her residence. He also met delegations of all the mainstream political parties, including Congress that had boycotted him during his previous visit. Officials said that Home Minister entertained 20-odd political delegations at Nehru Guest House.

Immediately after the press conference, Rajnath Singh, accompanied by union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, left back for New Delhi by BSF’s Embraer executive jet.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Thursday, August 25, 2016

CRPF C.O, ASP, DSP, SHO among 17 injured in mob-militant attack in Pulwama
Rajnath’s 2nd visit begins with 68th death of 47 days of Kashmir turbulence

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 24: With South Kashmir drifting further, as many as 17 persons, including a Commanding Officer of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and an Additional Superintendent of Police, sustained injuries in a joint attack from a crowd of demonstrators and some suspected militants while as a young protester got killed in the Police action at district headquarters of Pulwama on Wednesday when the union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar on his second visit in a month. With this, death toll in the unceasing turbulence of last 47 days, after the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter on July 8, has reached 68.

Exactly when Rajnath Singh was landing in Sringar, a major clash took place between protesters and Police and CRPF at Pinglena on the outskirts of Pulwama town on Srinagar-Pulwama Road. Deputy Commissioner Muneerul Islam told STATE TIMES that fearing a huge gathering of separatists and possible violence at Pruchoo, on periphery of the district headquarters, Police and CRPF had already decided to disallow a congregation. Local separatists had called upon the people to gather at Pruchoo for paying tributes to Burhan Wani and other militants, besides around 70 civilians killed in the last 7 weeks of turbulence.

“In violation of the prohibitory orders, people from different villages poured in amid stone pelting and clashes at around eight places. At Pinglena, the unruly crowds clashed with Police and CRPF and attempted to force their passage to Pruchoo. In retaliation to intense stone pelting, Police and CRPF used tear gas and pump action guns to disperse the crowds. It was during this clash that three of the protesters got injured. One of them later succumbed to injuries”, DC Pulwama said.

The 19-year-old student, Amir Gul Mir s/o Ghulam Mohammad Mir of Ratnipora, is the 68th person killed in the 47-day-long turbulence in the Valley after Burhan Wani’s death. Amir had sustained critical injuries and a part of his spleen had been removed by surgery when, on February 14, security forces had opened fire on a civilian crowd during the course of a counterinsurgency operation at Lelhar. Two young civilians - twenty-year-old Shaista (MA Urdu student) and 18-year-old Danish (B Tech student of IUST) - had died in the firing. Aamir was among the protesters who had sustained injuries. He had been lately discharged from hospital.

Sources said that two more protesters rushed to hospital with pellet injuries were stable.

With the restrictions enforced around Pruchoo, organisers made announcements on public address system of mosques in over a dozen village around Pulwama, asking people to gather at the alternate venue of a stadium near Degree College. Amid chaotic conditions, thousands of people in the rally marched towards the town. They clashed with Police and CRPF when their way was blocked close to the College entrance. When the clash was underway, Police said, suspected militants lobbed a hand grenade that exploded in front of a Police-CRPF contingent.

Commanding Officer of CRPF 183 Bn, Vinay Anand Prakash, Additional SP Azhar Baba, Dy SP Shafeeq Ahmad and SHO Pulwama Inspector Aadil besides 13 others, including 8 constables, sustained splinter injuries. The four injured officers were evacuated and airlifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital for medical treatment. Others were treated at District Hospital Pulwama.

However, some people who were part of the demonstration, insisted that militants did not toss any grenade on the CRPF-Police contingent. They claimed that some explosive device in Police and CRPF possession went off and that caused minor injuries to the officers.

Sources said that in all, 40 civilian protesters were injured in Wednesday’s clashes in Pulwama. Thousands of people participated in Aamir’s funeral prayers, held at least three times.

While as over 10,000 people put up a demonstration at Pulwama, around 6,000 gathered at Verinag. The rally was telephonically addressed by senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Reports said that pro-Azadi, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans were shouted in both the rallies while as several participants waved Pakistani flags.

Significantly at Verinag, over a dozen former Panches and Sarpanches announced that they had severed their allegiance to all the mainstream political parties.

At Eidgah in Malangam village of Bandipore, over 3,000 people gathered to listen to some local separatist leaders who asked the audiences to continue shutdown as per the calendar issued by separatist leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik.

At Cement Bridge in Baramulla town a crowd of less than 200 people shouted pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans before clashing with Police and CRPF.

Official sources insisted that around 200 civilians sustained injuries of different intensities in a chain of clashes across Kashmir valley on Wednesday. These sources said that clashes and demonstrations took place at over 50 spots across valley. At Eidgah Turkawangam, separatists addressed a rally.

A Delhi-bound passenger, Shahid Habib Bhat of Nagam Chadoura, was arrested at Srinagar airport. He was whisked away to an undisclosed destination.

Police version

According to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters, Kashmir, eight incidents of stone pelting were reported from Pulwama, Budgam, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.
The statement said during stone pelting near Degree College Pulwama, militants hiding in the mob fired and hurled two grenades on the deployment resulting in injuries to 17 police and CRPF personnel and some civilians. “The injured include CO 183 Bn CRPF, ASP Pulwama, DySP Pulwama and SHO Pulwama,” the statement added.
It further reads that at Pinglina, Pulwama miscreants assembled on road and started heavy stone pelting on the police and SF deployment. In order to clear the road and chase the miscreants, Police/Security forces were compelled to use some force, which caused injuries to few miscreants. “One of them identified as Amir Gul Mir son of Ghulam Mohammad Mir resident of Ratnipora succumbed to his injuries, the statement said. In this incident a number of police and security forces personnel were also injured,” the statement added.

It said that except for these incidents, the overall situation across the valley remained under control till filing of this report. “Apart from some police stations of Srinagar and town Anantnag there was increased movement of traffic on roads in rest of the valley,” the statement added.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Youths in hordes filing forms for SPO vacancies but many of them harassed, beaten up; 2 SPOs resign

Some improvement in situation on 46th day of shutdown in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Aug 23: Even as large number of unemployed Kashmiri youths are coming forward to file their application forms for recruitment against nearly 10,000 vacancies of Special Police Officers (SPOs), many of the candidates are being harassed and beaten up in full view of the public by supporters of current turbulence triggered by the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8. At least two SPOs have reportedly resigned under threat from the separatists.

According to the local news agency CNS and some television news channels, SPOs Waseem Ahmad Sheikh and Firdaus Ahmad have publicly announced their resignation in Behrampora and Thakgund villages of Sopore, in North Kashmir on Monday evening. One of them was heard saying that he had tendered his resignation as people of his area had put him under pressure and threatened social boycott to his family. He was reportedly engaged as SPO and posted as driver in the office of Sub Divisional Police Officer in Rafiabad area of Sopore Police district.

SP Sopore Harmit Singh was not reachable on phone for comment. A text message sent to him for his reaction to the reports of the SPOs’ resignation did not deliver on SP’s cellphone.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that thousands of application forms had been received in all the 10 districts of Kashmir valley as a large number of candidates were turning up to try their luck for engagement as SPO. This fresh recruitment drive in Police was announced immediately after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s request to the Government of India and after union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Srinagar on July 26. Deputy Commissioners have been appointed as Chairpersons of the selection panels.

This recruitment drive is widely perceived to be an attempt to make a dent in the current separatist movement that has received a boost with the killing of Burhan Wani and two other militants of his group on July 8. Candidates can submit their forms from August 10 to August 25.

However, according to credible reports, many of such candidates are being harassed, threatened and beaten up publicly in broad daylight. Some of such incidents have been reported just outside the offices of some DCs and SPs in entire Valley. On Monday many of such aspirants were stopped and frisked by unruly groups in Budgam and their original qualification certificates and other documents were torn off.

Even a number of Government employees have been spotted attacking such candidates on different roads that have been deserted by Police 45 days ago.

Meanwhile, slight improvement was marked in the tense situation on Tuesday as some vehicles operated and several shops were spotted open in Central and North Kashmir Kashmir inspite of it being the 46th day of shutdown. Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have called shutdown, beginning on July 9. However, no passenger services have operated in the Valley till date.

Some minor incidents of stone pelting and clashes took place on withdrawal of Police and paramilitary deployment in the evening in downtown Srinagar where curfew remained in force and it was relaxed for 8 hours from 9.00 a.m. Restrictions were enforced in some other district headquarters and major towns.

Reports said that about a dozen people sustained minor injuries in a clash at Weil Nowgam in Shopian. In all, two dozen protesters were reportedly injured in today’s clashes with Police and security forces. Unconfirmed reports said that a group of people attacked forces and residence of Congress MLA from Baramulla, Usman Majid, in Ajas and Kaloosa area of Bandipora.

Reports said that protesters clashed with Police and CRPF at Umarabad in jurisdiction of Police Station Parimpora.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Two oil tanker drivers critically injured in stone pelting at Bijbehara

Shutdown, curfew, clashes, demonstrations continue in Valley on 45th day

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Aug 22: While Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was holding out assurance of safety and security to oil tanker owners and traders in a meeting in Jammu on Monday, some people in her hometown of Bijbehara, on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, left two oil tanker drivers critically injured in intense stone pelting.

Informed official sources told STATE TIMES that on Monday evening dozens of people near Bijbehara subjected the incoming oil tankers and other vehicular traffic to heavy stone pelting. Two oil tanker drivers, namely Abdul Gani of Sowgam Kupwara and Manzoor Ahmad Dar of Lethapora, were hit in their heads. Both in critical condition were evacuated and rushed to Srinagar where doctors at SMHS Hospital performed surgeries. Sources maintained that both the drivers were ‘critical’.

The incident occurred when Chief Minister was in a meeting with J&K Oil Tanker Owners Association (JKOTOA), Jammu Transporters Union (JTU) and Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI) at the end of her daylong visit in Jammu. On her personal assurance of safety and security to the oil tanker drivers and owners, JKOTOA and J&K Tanker Driver and Cleaner Association, which had earlier in the day met with senior government officials including DIG Jammu Ashkoor Wani, had called off their strike and decided to restore fuel supplies to Kashmir valley forthwith.

According to a statement, Government had assured the two associations of the oil tanker owners and drivers and cleaners that adequate security would be provided to them from Banihal to Srinagar, as they would operate in a convoy, and further from Srinagar depots of HPCL, IOC and Bharat Petroleum to different destinations in the turbulent Kashmir valley. The associations had stopped all fuel supplies to Kashmir and gone on a strike on Saturday following which the Government on Monday persuaded them to call off their agitation. It had complained that as many as 18 tankers had been damaged in the stone pelting and a number of the drivers harassed.

Responding to the security concerns raised by the Oil Tankers Association, the Chief Minister assured them adequate security and asked them to immediately resume fuel supplies to Kashmir. 

“The Oil Tanker Owners Association was on strike since Saturday evening following mob attacks on oil tanker drivers and cleaners in Kashmir. Following the assurance by the Chief Minister the Oil Tanker Owners Association decided to call off the strike and resume fuel supplies to the Valley from Tuesday. The Oil Tanker Owners Association was told that the state Government would provide them special helpline numbers so that they can immediately get in touch with the authorities in case of any emergency”, a press release from the Government said.

However, within minutes of an agreement between the top government functionaries and the oil tanker owners, the drivers were attacked and two of them left critically injured at Bijbehara.
Shutdown, curfew on 45th day
Meanwhile, entire Kashmir valley reeled under the separatists-sponsored shutdown on 45th consecutive day after the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8. Curfew remained in force in downtown Srinagar where a civilian protester got killed in tear gas shelling on Sunday evening, raising the death toll to 67 in the last 45 days of turbulence. Restrictions remained in force in some towns in South Kashmir.

Official sources said that unruly crowds attacked Police and CRPF at more than 30 places in the capital city at the timing of withdrawal of deployments. Over 30 protesters and Police and paramilitary personnel are estimated to have sustained minor injuries in the clashes.

Earlier in the day, around 10,000 people gathered at Salia Aeshmuqam in Anantnag district to express their solidarity to the militants and civilians killed by security forces in the last 46 days. They shouted pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans. Police initially resisted their efforts to assemble but subsequently withdrew from the spot. Police officials said that they escaped as they were “badly outnumbered” by the protesters who also carried Pakistani flags.

Reports said that a similar gathering of over 3,000 people shouted pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans at Eidgah Pattan and another gathering of 3,000 people put up a similar demonstration at Kaimoh, Kulgam.

Thinner group of 20 to 100 stone pelters clashed with Police and paramilitary forces at Azadgunj Baramulla, Tekipora Lalpora in Kupwara while as around 600 people clashed with Police in Fatehkadal area of Srinagar in protest of a civilian’s killing last evening in tear gas shelling. Some of them waved Pakistani flags.

Reports said that miscreants checked identity cards and roughed up government employees, particularly the Policemen, going to attend their duties and returning to home at Mirgund Crossing in Budgam, Romoh Pulwama and some other places. However, peaceful demonstration took place at Hyderpora.

Police version

A Police spokesman said in a statement that curfew was relaxed in the jurisdiction of police stations of uptown in Srinagar from 0900 Hrs to 1700 Hrs including Ram Munshi Bag, Kothi Bagh, Raj Bagh, Sadder, Nowgam, Shaheed Gunj, Karan Nagar, Shergarhi and Parimpora. Curfew was also relaxed in Soura, Lal Bazar and Nigeen police stations' jurisdiction. During the relaxation hours no untoward incident was reported, markets remained open and traffic was normal on roads.

“Situation remained peaceful in Srinagar, Pulwama, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Bandipore, Kupwara, Baramulla. However, 5 incidents of stone pelting waere reported from Budgam, Anantnag, Shopian and Sopore. These incidents were reported from Hyderpora in Budgam, Salli in Anantnag, Wathu, Gonapora in Shopian and Gulabad in Sopore”

“The situation across the Kashmir valley remained under control and no other untoward incident was reported. The movement of traffic on national highway and other roads remained normal”, added the Police statement.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Monday, August 22, 2016

Youth killed in Srinagar downtown clash with CRPF; toll reaches 67

3 militants killed near LoC in Tangdar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 21: On 44th day of the continued shutdown in Kashmir valley, a 24-year-old civilian protester died in a clash with Police and CRPF in downtown Srinagar on Sunday, raising the death toll of unabated turbulence to 67.

SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar told STATE TIMES that around the timing of the withdrawal of Police and paramilitary deployment at 7.15 p.m, a group of unruly youths resorted to intense stone pelting on Police and CRPF in Malarata-Bohrikadal area, in downtown Srinagar. Police and CRPF retaliated while firing tear gas canisters. One Irfan Ahmad alias Maajid of Fatehkadal probably got his in his chest area and later succumbed at SMHS Hospital.

Over a dozen Police and CRPF 44th battalion personnel reportedly sustained injuries in the stone pelting from the unruly group. An unruly crowd of around 400 people clashed with Police and CRPF and attacked a Police post at Bhan Mohalla in downtown Srinagar.

The body was handed over to the family amid curfew and spiralling tension and subsequently the funeral prayers were conducted at Jamia Masjid. Late on Sunday night, the body was buried at ‘Martyrs Graveyard’ at Eidgah amid anti-India, pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans. With this, death toll in the 44-day-long turbulence, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s elimination in an encounter on July 8, has reached 67, including three Police personnel.

According to the official reports available, no major incident of violence took place anywhere in the Valley till 7.00 pm. Curfew remained in force in downtown Srinagar, Pampore and Anantnag town. Elsewhere, near-total shutdown was observed for the day on the call of separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.

Reports from North Kashmir said that dozens of protesters sustained injuries at Behrampora Sopore, in Rafiabad area, where protesters clashed with Police and security forces. Unofficial reports put the number of the injured as 75. A Bachelor of Technology student reportedly sustained injuries during a clash between protesters and Police in Anantnag area. Reports said that clashes of minor intensity took place in Bijbehara, Achhabal and Kulgam.

At Mool Chitragam in Shopian area, Hurriyat (Geelani) leader Mohammad Yousuf Falahi led a peaceful protest demonstration of around 2500 people. It was later dispersed.

3 militants killed

Meanwhile, Defence sources said, at least three unidentified militants were killed in the wee hours on Sunday in an encounter with troops of Rashtriya Rifles 20 Bn and Rajputana Rifles 26 Bn at Nichian village of Tangdar, close to LoC. Same group of the fresh infiltrating militants had reportedly attacked a BSF post on August 19 and escaped.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Around the time our 'mainstream politicians' led by Mr Omar Abdullah are in New Delhi for a meeting with President of India, we need to bear in mind:

1. The President is the nominal head and Supreme Commander of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and the so-called Constitutional head who tops the list of all dignitaries in Order of Precedence and protocol but actually he is just a rubber stamp who has no authority to take political decisions;

2. Solutions to the Kashmir problem as projected till date---azadi, Plebiscite (accession to India or Pakistan by universal referendum in undivided State including Gilgit Baltistan, Ladakh, Jammu and all territories under Pakistan's control), autonomy, self-rule, abrogation of Article 370 etc etc---are all essentially political decisions in which President of India has no role;

3. One may differ on the number of the people on the streets and the people these demonstrators and stone pelters represent---which according to Minister Sajjad Lone are only 5% and according to Hurriyat leaders and many others as 95%----it is unmistakeably clear that their demand is not a judicial enquiry in Burhan Wani's killing (as was sought to be projected by some of PDP's legal luminaries), or punishment to the "Police and CRPF officers involved in killing of 70 civilians", or appointment of the Chairman for J&K State Human Rights Commission, or release of political detainees, or autonomy, or self-rule or 'achievable nationhood', or uninterrupted power supply and pure drinking water. It is---let us be honest even if we don't align ourselves with them---nothing short of Azadi, or Kashmir's total separation from India. If they are really followers of Burhan Wani, then their demand is also what he said in August 2015 video---"Khilafat in Kashmir and entire world";

4. The delegation that is meeting President of India also includes the politicians whose only politics in J&K has been restricted to obfuscation, diversion of narratives and camouflaged adventurism as per the role given to them by the central intelligence agencies, army and security establishment. They have been exposed as beneficiaries and recipients of huge amounts of money and other privileges from Army and other agencies and carry no credibility in Kashmir; and,

5. None of the politicians, including some who have proved to be the best Ministers and MLAs in development, does enjoy mandate or trust of the people who are out on the streets today.

By every word---from Ram Madhav to Rajnath Singh to Narenda Modi---the NDA Government has made it clear that it is not going to hold any talks, any discussions with anybody on the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. It has been made clear that the Modi Government would talk to Pakistan only about the territories under that country's control.


Ahmed Ali Fayyaz