AJK cop shot dead as protests against inflation turn violent

Complete Shutdown in AJK Amidst Strike by AAC in Response to Surging Utility Charges

Images capture the chaos as protesters and police clash in AJK, images taken from video footage on May 11, 2024. — X/@fouzi_s/ reporter
  • A region-wide strike in AJK persists into its second day.
  • Authorities detain numerous individuals as protests intensify.
  • Multiple confrontations erupt between law enforcement and demonstrators.

MIRPUR, MUZAFFARABAD, AJK: A police officer was fatally wounded following hostile encounters between law enforcement and Awami Action Committee (AAC) demonstrators, as public outrage over escalating electricity charges and taxation sparked another day of protests in Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday.

Everyday life stood still with commercial and educational establishments, alongside eateries and offices, shuttered throughout AJK in support of the AAC’s declaration of a commerce closure and transportation disruption to challenge the rising costs of electricity and taxation.

An increased law enforcement presence was noticeable along all entryways to the bustling Madina Market, the designated location for welcoming participants of the AAC’s extended protest march.

Travel routes to Muzaffarabad were obstructed by barriers positioned along Shahrah-e-Srinagar, with a strong police force securing the main roads.

As the day broke, substantial numbers from various districts including Bhimbar, Mirpur, and Kotli began their march toward Muzaffarabad in solidarity with the protest.

Violence erupted near Islam Garh where long march participants engaged in confrontations with police. According to law enforcement, the demonstrators discharged firearms while being prevented from advancing further, resulting in Mirpur Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Adnan Qureshi sustaining a fatal chest injury.

The officer tragically passed away from his wounds after being transported to a medical facility, while three demonstrators also faced serious injuries.

In a separate incident, clashes in Kotli led to teargas and stone-throwing, injuring other law enforcement officials and protesters. Some demonstrators went on to inflict damage to several vehicles, including that of a local magistrate, on the Poonch-Kotli route.

Earlier, disturbances were also reported from various locations including Shah Sultan Bridge, Tanga stand, and Aziz Chowk in Muzaffarabad.

In the aftermath of the outbreaks of violence, police initiated a rigorous crackdown to apprehend protesters, taking multiple individuals into custody in the capital of AJK.

The previous day’s events had resulted in injuries to over 40 people, inclusive of 11 police officers, due to the altercations and stone-throwing.

The AJK authorities imposed restrictions on public assemblies, demonstrations, and processions across districts in anticipation of the AAC-led protests, with Section 144 being enforced throughout the area.

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