WHILE THE all-party delegation was holding discussions in Srinagar with various groups to assess the situation, clashes between protesters and security forces continued across the Valley. More than 400 people were injured as the security forces foiled protest rallies and fired pellets to disperse crowds.
Just minutes before the arrival of the all-party team at the Srinagar venue, the security forces foiled a rally in Pinjoora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian. A senior health official in Shopian said 275 injured people were admitted to government hospitals and 15 people with serious injuries were referred to Srinagar.
This was followed by more protests in Shopian town. Police said the protesters set on fire a government building that houses the district offices of several government departments, including that of the Deputy Commissioner. “The fire was brought under control but the structure suffered partial damage,” a police spokesperson said.
In Pulwama’s Tral, at least 60 people were injured when the police foiled a protest rally at a local ground. The protesters also attacked local PDP MLA Mushtaq Ahmed Shah’s house with stones.
A rally was also foiled in Drubgam village of Pulwama in which at least 12 people were injured. Eight civilians were taken to the district hospital. “Two were referred to Srinagar because of the serious injuries,” a doctor said.
In south Kashmir’s Anantnag, doctors said at least 30 people injured during the protests were admitted to the district hospital. “Almost all of them had pellet injurious. Two patients with serious injuries in eye and chest were referred to Srinagar,” a doctor said.
Protests were also held in Vessu village of Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. A youth was killed in the area during the protests on Saturday.
In Kulgam, protests broke out in Ashumji village where over two dozen people, including many women, were injured.
A police spokesperson said protests were also reported from Srinagar. “There was no curfew in the valley except some areas of Srinagar falling under the Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and MR Gunj police stations,” he said.
Medical Superintendent of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar, Dr Nazir Chowdhary, said 40 injured civilians were received at the hospital since early morning. “A youth with head injuries brought from Sopore’s Wadoora is critical,” he said.
Photojournalists Hit by Pellets
Two local photojournalists were injured in Srinagar’s Rainawari area when the forces fired pellets to disperse a protest rally. Freelance photographer Zuhaib Ahmad suffered injuries in the left eye and around the chest and abdomen. “He was operated upon,” said Zuhaib’s father Mohammad Maqbool. The other injured photojournalist, Muzamil Matto,who works with a local daily, said: “We were caught between the protesters and forces. We were just trying to move aside when the police fired pellets at us.