Interlocutors visiting Shopian in south Kashmir


Srinagar: Stone pelting mobs made a return after a lull to the Kashmir Valley Tuesday that saw five protesters injured in security forces firing in south Kashmir Pulwama district while the three interlocutors visited Shopian where the 2009 alleged rape-murders of two women had sparked widespread outrage.

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“A vehicle of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was stopped by a mob at Muran village in Pulwama district and subjected to heavy stone pelting.

“The CRPF troopers in the vehicle had to fire at the mob in self-defence. Five protesters sustained injuries in the incident, but all of them are stated to be out of danger,” a senior police officer said here.

In another incident, two policemen were injured at Cement Bridge in north Kashmir Baramulla town when a stone pelting mob resorted to violence in the afternoon.

“Miscreants resorted to heavy stone pelting on security forces who, exercising utmost restraint, chased away the people and the situation was brought under control. Two policemen were injured in the Baramulla incident.

In a similar incident at village Palaan, in district Bandipora, miscreants resorted to heavy stone pelting on security forces and attempted to block the main road. However, security forces intervened and the situation was brought under control, a police statement issued here said.

Stone pelting youth also made attempts to stop traffic in Kralpora, Nowshera and some other places in Srinagar city.

Separatist Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani had called for a general shutdown and protests Tuesday as part of the group’s continuing Quit Kashmir campaign.

Shops, other businesses, public transport, educational institutions, banks and post offices remained closed in old city areas of summer capital Srinagar where the authorities imposed curfew to thwart separatist protests.

Shops and public transport, however, also remained shut in the uptown areas of Srinagar where no curfew had been imposed in response to the separatist protests.

Hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani had called for a march to the martyrs’ graveyard in old city Eidgah area of Srinagar Tuesday, but the march was scuttled by the authorities by imposing curfew in the area.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, has called for a protest march to Sonwar area in uptown Srinagar Wednesday where the office of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOG) is situated to protest the landing of the Indian army in Kashmir on Oct 27, 1947.

The Indian army had landed in Kashmir after the Dogra Maharaja, Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India and sought military assistance against the tribal invasion which had forced the Maharaja to flee to winter capital Jammu in 1947.

Meanwhile, noted writer and rights activist, Arundhati Roy issued a statement here maintaining that her speech at a seminar in Srinagar on Sunday had contained nothing other than what she has always been saying and writing in the past.

“I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world,” Roy said in a statement after media reports that the authorities were examining the transcripts of her speech to decide on legal action against her.

The seminar was organized by the J&K Coalition of Civil Society here.

The team of interlocutors visited rural areas of south Kashmir including Shopian town and interacted with some youth and prominent citizens there.

Shopian town had witnessed a bloody public outrage in 2009 against the alleged rape and murder of two local women whose bodies were found by the side of stream in the town on May 30, 2009.

Later, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had concluded that the duo had died because of accidental drowning.

The CBI investigations had ruled out both rape and murder in case of Nilofar Jan, 22 and Asiya Jan, 18 who the locals had alleged had been raped and then murdered by the security forces.

A delegation of local Sikhs called on the interlocutors in Srinagar and apprised them of their views on the political problems of the Valley.

The team concluded its four-day long maiden visit to the Valley Tuesday and would be visiting winter capital Jammu Wednesday.