Srinagar, Oct 12: At least 25 people including three police officers were injured in protests on Friday even as a complete shutdown was observed across the Valley against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Manan Bashir Wani and his associate in an encounter with government forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara on Thursday.
Reports said that amidst a complete shutdown in response to the call given by the joint Hurriyat leadership, scores of people protested across the Valley against the killing of Manan and his associate, Ashiq Hussain Zargar, both residents of Kupwara.
At least six people suffered injuries in pellet firing by government forces at Tikipora, the native village of Manan.
Among the injured Shakir Ahmad Bhat (18), Babar Ahmad Bhat (23) son of Mohammad Sultan Bhat of Takipora, Mohammad Shafi son Wali Mohd Lone and Shafat Ahmad Naikoo son of Ghulam Mohdin, both residents of Diver Lolab, were shifted to Sub District Hospital from where they were referred to Srinagar for advanced treatment. Another injured, Tariq Lohar of Kakerpati, was admitted in the SDH.
The locals also alleged that CRPF troopers allegedly misbehaved with Manan’s aunt Razeena Begum.
In the clashes that continued till late Friday evening, Additional SP Kupwara, Shafqat Hussain, ITBP trooper Mohammad Maqbool and Head Constable Ghulam Mohammad of SOG camp were injured in clashes at Takipora.
In Lalpora Lolab, at least four people suffered minor injuries in government forces action against angry youth who attacked a police station with stones. The CRPF and police fired warning shots after they failed to disperse stone-pelting protesters with batons and tear smoke shells.
SHO Lalpora Abdur Rashid, Head Constable Ghulam Mohammad were also injured in the clashes that continued till late evening.
During the clashes, forces fired a teargas that fell inside the house of Haji Ghulam Mohammad Bhat due to which it reportedly caught fire. Immediately fire tenders rushed to the spot and doused off the flames. The fire caused partial damage to household goods.
The residents of Batpora, Lalpora, Sheikhpora, Teli Mohalla and other villages accused CRPF troopers of ransacking their properties. They alleged that the troopers also beat up several people without any reason.
In Sogam, two youth were injured during clashes between government forces and the protesters. The youth identified as Akhtar Ahmad Lone and Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat were removed to the nearby hospital for treatment.
Police have filed two separate FIRs 79/2018 under section 147, 148, 149 and 80/2018 under section 147, 148,149 at Sogam police station in connection with violent protests against Manan’s killing on Thursday. One FIR pertains to the injury caused to Chowki Officer Kuligam in stone pelting clashes, sources said.
The frontier district of Kupwara wore a deserted look in wake of the shutdown. All educational institutions in the district remained closed amid fears of protests.
Reports of clashes were also received from several parts of south Kashmir, where a complete shutdown was observed on JRL call.
In Redwani Bala in Kulgam, protesters fought pitched battles with government forces after offering congregational Friday prayers. The government forces used numerous tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters, witnesses said.
In Srinagar, a complete shutdown was observed with shops, financial establishments, petrol pumps and banks remaining closed while skeletal traffic plied on the roads, reports said.
The authorities barred people from offering Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area in Old City, Srinagar where restrictions were imposed along with areas in its vicinity falling within the jurisdictions of five police stations.
After Friday prayers, members of Joint Hurriyat leadership held a protest at Maisuma against the killing of the two Hizb militants. However, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
In Soura, youth staged a protest and clashed with the government forces. During the ding-dong battles, at least two people were injured.
Reports of clashes were also received from Natipora, Chanpora, Mochowa and Kralpora areas of city and outskirts. The government forces used tear smoke shells and pellets to break up the pro-freedom demonstrations, witnesses said.
Meanwhile, reports of the shutdown have also been received from Banihal town, and Gundadalkoot, Charil, Tethar and Nowgam markets located on Jammu-Srinagar highway. (With inputs from GNS)
3 militants killed in Budgam encounter
Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.
News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.
As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.
During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.
The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.
“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.
The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.
Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)
Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted
Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).
Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects
Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.
In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).
Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.
However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.
Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.
The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.
The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.
Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.
Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.
“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.
Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.