At least four persons were injured in sporadic violence witnessed on Wednesday in various parts of Kashmir where normal life remained affected due to separatist-sponsored strike. A police spokesman said barring a few stone pelting incidents and arson during which a school building was gutted, the situation in the valley remained by and large peaceful.
“Four incidents of stone pelting were reported from Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Kupwara,” the spokesman said. In Kulgam, he said, about 300 protesters assembled at Mirhama and pelted stones on police and security force deployments and set ablaze Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala School which suffered damages.
“Miscreants also hurled a petrol bomb on State Rest House, Chawalgam, which resulted in fire and partial damages to the rest house,” the spokesman said.
However, local residents alleged that fire in the school building was caused by intense teargas shelling by the forces to chase away protesters.
The residents also claimed that an elderly person Abdul Gani Wani (70) died after he suffered a cardiac arrest due to shelling by the forces at Chawalgam.
A police official said that four persons sustained injuries when security forces fired pellets and tear smoke shells to chase away protestors in Anantnag.
There was no curfew in any part of Kashmir but restrictions on the assembly of people were in placed in all districts of the Valley except Srinagar city. Restrictions on the assembly of people will remain in force to maintain law and order, he said.
The official said the decision to not clamp curfew anywhere in the Valley was taken in view of the improving situation despite clashes at some places including Anantnag where a youth was killed in security forces action yesterday.
Even as normal life across the Valley continued to remain affected due to the separatist sponsored strike, markets in Srinagar and other places came to life last evening as shoppers thronged them in view of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha festival which is being celebrated on September 13.
The commercial hub of Lal Chowk in Srinagar, along with the adjoining markets and other markets in most of the district headquarters were abuzz with activity last evening in view of the 12-hour relaxation in the strike from 6 PM. A heavy rush of shoppers was witnessed in Lal Chowk leading to traffic jams at many places around the city centre.
The separatists, who have extended the shutdown programme till September 16, have announced periodic relaxation in the strike on some days of the week.
Shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut during the daytime. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions also continued to remain closed.
However, the attendance in government offices and banks has improved as lot, the official said. Public transport continued to be off the roads, while there was increased movement of cars and auto-rickshaws especially in the civil lines areas of the city, he said.