Curfew re-imposed in Kupwara, Handwara after fresh clashes

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Asif Iqbal
Srinagar, April 18: Curfew was on Monday morning re-imposed in Kupwara district of north Kashmir after fresh protests against the killing of five civilians in forces action erupted in Handwara and Kupwara towns and in several villages.
The authorities relaxed curfew in Kupwara areas including at Handwara today in the morning at 8 AM for three hours. However the forces personnel remained deployed at their respective positions. Soon after the curfew was relaxed, people came out of their houses to shop essential items.
However at 9 am in Handwara, scores of people took to streets and staged massive protests against the civilian killings. The forces which were additionally deployed there resorted to intense teargas shelling ensuing clashes between the two sides. The clashes continued for nearly an hour and five persons’ sustained injuries. Soon after the clashes, the authorities re-imposed the curfew in the Town. The clashes also broke out in nearby areas of the Handwara including Langate and Kulangam.
Similar protests broke out at Kupwara at around 10 am during deal hours and police in order to quell the demonstrators resorted to teargas shelling on protesters. The protesters, in return, pelted stones and bricks on forces. Trehgam, which is native village of JKLF founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, also witnessed massive anti-India protests and clashes. A police official said 5 people were injured in Kupwara and Trehgam clashes.
In wake of clashes, the authorities strictly enforced the curfew in Kupwara and didn’t allow anyone to venture out of his or her home. The clashes however continued for several hours in many villages.
Pertinently, violent protests broke out in several parts of Kupwara and Handwara last Tuesday over the alleged molestation of a girl by an army soldier on Tuesday. The girl, however, has denied that she was molested.
Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by army on protesters on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate forces action against protesters on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa.

Students stage protests
Hundreds of students of three varsities of Kashmir on Monday staged massive protests against the killings of civilians in Kupwara district over the past week.
Hundreds of students at KU, IUST and CUK today boycotted their classes and held protest demonstrations against the innocent killings. The protesters raised slogans in favour of Islam and Freedom and against India.
According to eyewitnesses, the female protests at Kashmir University also hoisted a Pakistani flag during the protest and shouted slogans in favour of Pakistan. The protests however remained peaceful and there was no violence. Reports informed GNS that the authorities at IUST Awantipora barred the student protesters to take out the rally out of the varsity.
Meanwhile, Candle-light march against Kashmir civilian killings held at Pondicherry Central University
Students stage a march at Pondicherry Central University
Scores of students on Sunday evening staged a candle-light march against the “against Indian atrocities in Kashmir in general and the recent killings of innocent youth by army in particular” at Pondicherry Central University.
Five civilians were killed during last week in Kupwara district of north Kashmir in army and police action after protest over alleged molestation of a girl student by a soldier in Handwara town on Tuesday last.
The protesters were carrying banners, which had slogans like ‘I protest against innocent killings by Indian forces’, ‘Save Kashmir Save Humanity’, ‘If Kashmir is integral part then feel our pain’, ‘Stop State terrorism in Kashmir’, ‘I protest until my freedom has come’.
The march was organized by Ambedkar Students Association in which several PhD scholars addressed the gathering about the “unfortunate incidents and shameless activities pursued by Indian army in Kashmir valley.”

ADM to probe firing incident
District Magistrate, Kupwara has appointed Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Handwara, Peer Muzaffar Ahmad, as inquiry officer to probe the firing incident in Handwara which took place on April 12, 2016.
Any person or persons acquainted with the facts of the incident and desirous to depose and record their statements have been asked to appear before the inquiry officer at ADM, Handwara office from April 20 to April 30, 2016 during the office hours.