iconimg Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Toufiq Rashid , Hindustan Times
Srinagar, September 08, 2013
It was perhaps the Haqeeqat-e Kashmir. Hours before the Zubin Mehta concert enthralled Srinagar, the valley rang with another, more familiar sound – gunshots and protests. The day, which had started with a militant attack on a CRPF camp in Shopian, saw two more incidents of violence - yet another militant attack on security forces at Pulwama and one in the heart of Srinagar, when a policeman allegedly opened fire at a car after it collided with a government vehicle.

In the afternoon, minutes before the Zubin Mehta concert was to start, 11 J&K police personnel and one civilian were wounded when militants hurled a hand grenade on the forces deployed near the Pulwama district hospital.

The injured were taken to the local hospital and the critical cases were shifted to Srinagar.

But there was more to come.

Even as the concert was on, came the alleged shooting at the car at Badshah Chowk.

Passenger Aijaz Ahmed said the vehicle had collided with a government-owned Ambassador. But before it had moved 20 meters, the car was fired upon. The driver, who was hit in the leg, was shifted to the SMHS hospital for treatment.

A senior police officer, though, said the security forces at Badshah Chowk had signalled the private car to stop for checking, but the driver ignored the signal and tried to speed away. “The forces had fired at the vehicle’s tyre to stop it. But one occupant of the car sustained injury in his leg,” the officer said.

Soon after, youths from the adjacent Maisuma area came out of their homes and started pelting stones at the security forces.

The gunshot and the protests rang loud in the silent city, which had greeted the Bavarian State Orchestra with a strike in response to hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s call. The city wore a deserted look as shops, business centres, petrol pumps and banks remained closed and traffic was thin on the roads.

There were reports of shutdown from districts of north and south Kashmir too.

(With IANS inputs)