There are growing signs of stone throwing returning to the Valley, after a brief lull this year, following the tumultuous summer of 2010. Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday claimed, new faces are joining stone throwing in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, after a group of protesters attacked a police station there.
People took to the street on Monday after three youth were rounded up by the police for their involvement in stone throwing.
The police swung into action when a constable, Nazir Ahmad, received injuries due to stones hurled by the protesters. “Within half an hour we brought the situation in control,” said a police officer.
Scores of protesters were raising pro freedom and anti India slogans. Police used force and launched tearsmoke shells to control the situation.
The 2010 summer civil unrest, sparked off by the killing of a schoolboy, left more than a dozen people dead in north Kashmir. Baramulla town turned into the stone throwers hub, with protesters hitting the streets for more than two months.
“Stone hurling has attracted fresh faces in Baramulla town. Earlier, the youth of the old town would indulge in stone hurling. However, now we’re getting reports about the involvement of the youth from Ushkoora, Sangri, Khwaja Bagh and other areas as well,” said Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG) north Kashmir Muneer Ahmad Khan in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
The police have pledged to book the protesters under the harsh Public Safety Act (PSA), where a person can be held without trail for six months. “Stone throwers will not be allowed to go scot free. They’ll be booked under the PSA once arrested,” said DIG Khan.
The police fear students from tuition centres are joining stone throwing protesters. “Several boys who visit the tuition centres in the old town also participate in the stone hurling,” said Khan. The police officer asked the youth to shun violence.
“The youth who will shun the path of stone hurling will be rehabilitated by the police. We have set up library and indoor game facilities for them,” said Khan.
Just 20 km from Baramulla town, in Sopore, J&K police conducted surprise checks. Sopore has been witnessing heightened militant activity in the recent past. There were more than three grenade attacks this month itself, while two girls were gunned down by unidentified militants. The police blame Lashkar-e-Tayyeba for the killings.
J&K’s police’s Special Operations Group appeared in the Model town locality of the apple town on Monday morning and conducted surprise checks of commuters and pedestrians. People were asked to produce their identity cards. Despite an extensive hour plus search operation, no arrests were made.