Srinagar: Parts of the Kashmir Valley erupted on Mon-day after some television channels reported that the Supreme Court was resuming hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A later in the day, instead of August 31 as scheduled. The police blamed the situation on “rumour-mongering by miscreants”.
Officials were quick to clarify it was actually a fresh petition by a right-wing activist, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, before the court challenging Article 35A that was listed for admission around 2 pm on Monday, not the cluster of petitions clubbed into one that may come up on August 31. The court later dropped the hearing on the fresh plea after the petition sought an adjournment.
But surging crowds had already taken to the streets in many parts of the Valley, including Srinagar and the southern towns of Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama, as well as Sopore and Baramulla in the northwest, to chant slogans. They soon clashed with the security forces, witnesses said, adding that the latter had fired teargas canisters and pellet shotguns to quell stone-pelting mobs. Street violence was also reported from Ganderbal on the Srinagar-Kargil highway. Around three dozen people were injured in these clashes, and many got pellet injuries, hospital sources said.
In many areas, marketplaces were closed and vehicles withdrawn from roads amid chaos, witnesses said. Many schools were shut and their students and staff sent home “for security reasons”. Earlier, students of various educational institutions in Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama and Ganderbal were seen in the forefront of the spontaneous protests....