Photographs by Shahid Tantray
On February 9, 2013, at 8 am, accused for the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, Mohammad Afzal Guru was hanged.
It has been a month since his hanging and the Kashmir valley has only seen a few days of normalcy. As per the reports published in the newspapers and the daily statements of the police, the collected data by The Kashmir Walla is as: Civilians injured- more than 350; Police and paramilitary forces injured- 150; Civilian killings- 4; Two ailing persons reportedly died because of the use of pepper gas on protestors.
In that last 30 days, government imposed clampdown for 12 days and pro-freedom groups called for nine days of strike. There were 11 normalcy days but during which there were spontaneous protests and government imposed restrictions under section-144 and also imposed curfew partly in some areas.
However, a press statement issued by the police, on March 8, said that during the past few days in tackling the situation, 192 people including 109 policemen and 73 CRPF personnel were injured. “103 vehicles, including 18 civilian and two tourists vehicles were damaged by miscreants in stone pelting at various places in South Kashmir, districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Awantipora, Kulgam and Shopian. They include 35 police vehicles, 45 CRPF vehicles and three government vehicles,” the statement added.
Later that day, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir S M Sahai had told KNS that nearly 600 police and paramilitary CRPF personnel have been injured in Kashmir in the last some days during protests. “We are exercising maximum restraint to avoid any collateral damage. More than 300 policemen and more than 200 CRPF personnel have been injured in clashes with stone pelters in the last few days,” he was quoted saying.
Kashmir: From Feb 9 – March 9 (2013)
On the day of the hanging, the government imposed strict curfew even before Guru’s hanging, early in the morning. No one was allowed to move out of their houses by police and paramilitary forces that were deployed in heavy numbers throughout the Kashmir valley. People at several places defied the curfew and hundreds took to streets at various places to protest against the hanging. During the clashes between the Indian forces and protestors more than 39 people including 23 policemen got injured.
On February 10, a youth, Tariq Ahmed Bhat son of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat died when he was chased by policemen and was forced to jump in River Jehlum in north Kashmir’s Sumbal area in Bandipore district. Police denied that he was chased by them. Another youth, Parviaz Ahmed Rather son of Ghulam Qadir Rather of Wangipora Sumbal was shifted to Srinagar for the specialized treatment. Four people including three policemen were injured in the area during clashes.
Next day, five persons received injuries when paramilitary forces opened fire on protesters in Watergam area of north Kashmir’s Varmul district. Two of the injured were shifted to SKIMS hospital and their condition was critical. Later, one of the injured Ubair Mushtaq Rather succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
On February 11, death toll reached to three when another youth succumbed to his injuries after he was recovered from the river Jehlum. The locals had alleged that four youth were chased by the paramilitary forces and they jumped into the river- two of them were found dead. However, police denied that the two youth who died were chased by forces.
One February 12, curfew continued for fourth consecutive day in Kashmir and around 20 civilians and four policemen were injured in clashes between police and protesters in different parts of Kashmir.
On February 13, curfew remained imposed in Kashmir for fifth consecutive day. Clashes erupted between forces and protesters at several places and one person was injured by the paramilitary forces’ action. During clashes on Srinagar-Leh highway at Wussan and Kijpora in Kangan area of Ganderbal district, one policeman, Muhammad Dillawar was injured. In Islamabad district of South Kashmir, protests broke out in Sherpora, Lal Chowk and Kadipora and the forces opened fire in air and heavy tear gas shelling in which five youth and there policemen including a DySP headquarters were injured.
On February 14, curfew remained imposed in the Valley for sixth consecutive day and clashes broke out between protestors and forces at several places. No one was injured.
On February 15, strict curfew was imposed in the valley to foil any protests but defying the strict curfew, protesters came out on roads and demanded the body of Guru. In Bandipora, one person was injured and a police post was torched after massive protests and clashes erupted. Ghulam Nabi Dar son of Abdul Rehman Dar of Naidkhai was hit by pellets fired by police during clashes in Naidkhai Chowk.
February 16 was seventh day and curfew was lifted from Kashmir. Protests and clashes erupted at various places in the valley as it a strike called by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. In down-town area of Srinagar, youth staged protest demonstrations and the police and paramilitary forces fired tear smoke shells and cane-charged the protestors, leaving more than a dozen youth injured.
On February 17, life in the Valley remained paralyzed for ninth consecutive day. Next day life was back to normal in the Valley but south Kashmir’s district Islamabad and Pulwama observed a shutdown against the detention of youths by the police. Civilians and policemen were injured in the clashes.
On February 19, the Hurriyat Conference (G) called for a three day strike. The government imposed restrictions on the first day of the three-day strike call and protests were reported from some parts of the valley. Same day, in Shopian district of south Kashmir, two employees of the Power Development Department (PDD) were injured after they were roughed up by the CRPF personnel in Gagran village of the district. The injured were identified as Muhammad Yaseen Ahangar son of Abdul Rashid Ahangar resident of Pahnoo village, Shopian and Ghulam Muhammad Thoker son of Muhammad Subhan Thoker a resident of Haal, Gabarpora.
On February 21, the government announced restrictions will be imposed on movement of people and vehicles in Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora and Budgam, in view of the protest and strike call by the pro-freedom groups. Reportedly, two persons were injured in clashes in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. A vehicle of Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Social Forestry Department was attacked by the protesters in the district in which two employees got injured.
On February 22, a woman was injured by a teargas shell during a protest demonstration in Kulgam district. People took out protest demonstrations at several places, demanding the return of Afzal Guru’s body. Two other persons were injured too. The woman was identified as Rafeeqa Bano wife of Abdul Hamid, resident of Howura Mishpora village. In the district Kupwara, youth defied the curfew to protest in Trehgam, native village of JKLF founder Maqbool Butt. Reportedly, there was teargas shelling and cane-charging on the protestors by paramilitary forces in which four civilians and three policemen received minor injuries.
On February 28, the Mutaihida Majlis-e-Mashawarat (MMM), a united group of pro-freedom leaders called for protests. It led to the protest demonstrations in south Kashmir and police and paramilitary forces were deployed in all major towns of south Kashmir to foil any protests.
On March 1, four youths were injured when clashes broke out between protestors and forces at different places across the valley. The shutdown was observed on the call given by MMM. Next day there were no major protests but two policemen of Indian Reserve Police (IRP) were shot dead in Handwara, north Kashmir. Reportedly, constable Santosh Singh, 26, Belt number 285 and Azad Chand, 27, Belt number 199 of 13 IRP Battalion were attacked by unidentified gunmen with pistol and shot dead from a point blank range.
On March 3, protests started in different parts of the valley after the news of a Kashmiri student, Muddasir Ahmed Malla son of Ghulam Qadir Malla of Parigam Pulwama, pursuing his doctorate at Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) in Hyderabad being found dead in his hostel room in Hyderabad, spread.
On March 4, protests continued in the valley against the death of Mudasir Ahmad Malla and the pro-freedom groups’ joint group MMM had called for a shutdown to protest the death. Around a dozen persons including paramilitary personnel were injured.
On March 5, twenty-five-year old Tahir Ahmad Sofi son of Ghulam Rasool Sofi from Ganaie Hammam, Varmul received bullet in his head and was declared brought dead at the district hospital. He was shot by an army person from 46-RR during a protest demonstration. Another youth, Ajaz Ahmad Khan resident of same district also received bullet in his foot and was shifted to hospital. This triggered massive protests against and clashes broke out at several parts of the valley.
On March 6, around 50 persons including 12 police and paramilitary forces men were injured in clashes during protest demonstrations in the valley against the killing of Tahir Sofi by Army and the government imposed curfew. There was no call for shutdown but people observed a spontaneous strike to protest against the killing.
On March 7, more 40 persons including six policemen were injured in clashes at several places in the valley. The government imposed curfew continued and the valley remained shut spontaneously.
On March 8, around 80 persons including 30 police and paramilitary forces men were injured in clashes at several places while the curfew remained imposed. Due to strict curfew people could not offer the congregational Friday prayers at many places across the valley.
On March 9, though there was no strike call and normal life returned in some parts of the valley but north Kashmir remained shut. Reportedly, at least 85 civilians were injured police started firing pellets on protesters in Varmul district of North Kashmir.