SRINAGAR: For the second day in succession on Saturday, Srinagar witnessed protests against the Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the constitution that grants autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The protest took place in Soura, in south Srinagar. Paramilitary forces chased the people and fired in the air. Protesters refused to talk to the media, blaming them not showing the real picture of resistance to the world.
On Friday also, the same area witnessed mass resistance with at least 20,000 people on the streets after the Friday prayer.
Scores of people were believed to have been injured. Some people with eye injuries from pellets were reported to have been admitted to different hospitals of the capital Srinagar. “We were going toward Eidgah (prayer ground) in a peaceful procession when the paramilitary forces started firing. There was no stone pelting.
“At first, they fired pellets and then they started firing bullets. Many people were badly injured.
“Among the injured were some old men and children. I saw a young girl also lying injured. I have been hit in my leg,” said the man.
The local government initially denied the report about protest. Later, it admitted that there was a “minor incident of procession and some injury.”
Talking to Arab News, S. J. M. Gillani, additional director general of police, said “it was a minor procession and there was no serious injury. We did not fire on any one. We used tear gas.”
However, a local photo journalist (on condition of anonymity) told Arab News that “paramilitary forces first fired in the air, and then fired indiscriminately toward the crowd, causing injures.”
“There are more than a dozen cases of bullet and pellet injuries,” the journalist said.
On Saturday, the local administration relaxed the ban in the city to allow people to do shopping on the eve of Eid.
The valley has been under unprecedented clampdown since Sunday with all the communication networks remaining inaccessible.
The government has kept a close watch on the city to prevent any major violent reaction in the aftermath of the revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. However, anger on the street was visible everywhere.
“We are not Indians. We have been occupied by force,” said Samiullah Ashraf, a trader in downtown Srinagar.
“New Delhi thinks that after removing Article 370 the movement will go down. It will go up, quite the opposite,” said Ashraf.
“We are under house arrest, but the Indian media is forced to show to the world that there is normality in the state. This is not true,” Ashraf told Arab News.
Mudashar Rashid, a scientist, said: “The Indian government’s action is not only undemocratic but also against the spirit of secularism and the basic spirit of preamble.
“As a government employee, I have never spoken against the Indian government. But now I have put aside all decorum and I feel like revolting against what the government has done to the Kashmiris.”