Seven more killed in another day of violence in Kashmir


Srinagar: An eight-year-old boy was the latest fatality here Monday in the violence sweeping the Kashmir Valley, taking the number of those killed during the day to seven – including five in police firing – and the toll since Friday to 21.

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The boy, Sameer Ahmed Rah, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital here following a clash between protesters and security personnel in the uptown Batmaloo area. While residents alleged Sameer was beaten by police, police said he was injured in the stampede when security forces took action against the protesters.

The other five deaths were reported from Anantnag (two) and one each from Pulwama, Kulgam and Kupwara, while a youth, critically injured Saturday in Bijbehara town, succumbed at a hospital here.

The law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley has deteriorated with violent protests rocking most cities and towns and mobs attacking police stations, police camps, vehicles on the highways and also beating up trapped security men.

Highly agitated mobs of stone-pelting protesters Monday attacked the Kakpora railway station in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and tried to torch it, police said.

“Security forces intervened to stop the mob and, after baton charges and tear smoke failed to bring the situation under control, firearms were used against the violators. One protester, identified as Muhammad Yaqoob Bhat, was killed in the security force firing and another injured,” a senior police officer told IANS on phone from Pulwama.

The injured protester has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment, the officer said.

A protester, identified as Bashir Ahmad Reshi, was killed at Sangam village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district where unruly mobs burnt the building of the Delhi Public School and the security forces opened fire to quell the mob.

Another protester, identified as Irshad Ahmad Bhat, was injured and succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Mobs from neighbouring villages attempted to violate the curfew imposed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam town and security forces opened fire, killing a youth, identified as Ashiq Hussain Bhat of Chawalgam village.

In Kralpora village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police opened fire on mobs engaging in heavy stone pelting when repeated baton charges and tear gas failed to disperse them. A youth identified as Khurshid Ahmad was killed in the firing.

In Srinagar, a youth, Tariq Ahmed, who had been admitted to the hospital after he was critically injured, later succumbed to his injuries. He had been hit by a tear smoke shell Saturday during clashes in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town.

Despite the curfew, scores of agitated, unruly mobs broke the restrictions and took to the streets in a number of areas in the city, raising anti-India slogans and engaging the security forces in pitched clashes.

Mobs torched the offices of the local tehsildar, chief medical officer and chief horticulture officer and a hutment at the local railway station in central Kashmir’s Badgam district.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Delhi Monday, told reporters at a press conference later that the present cycle of violence must end before a political initiative is taken to address the political causes of the turmoil in Kashmir.

Making a passionate appeal Sunday for restoration of calm in the Valley, Abdullah had appealed to both his mainstream and separatist opponents to lend a helping hand in bringing the situation under control here.

More than 150 people, including security men and protesters, have been injured during the last four days of unrelenting violence in the Valley.

Sunday was the bloodiest day with eight deaths – three including two 17-year-olds (one of them a girl) – in police firing in Pulwama district. Later, five protesters were killed and 35 others injured when a rampaging mob entered the Khrew police post after torching it.

Explosive material stored inside the police post caught fire, resulting in a massive explosion that trapped the protesting mob under the debris of the building.

Army ambulances carried the wounded to various hospitals in Srinagar after rescuing them from under the debris.

On Friday, four protesters were killed in north Kashmir, two in Pattan town and two at Amargarh in Sopore town.

Two more protesters, one in Baramulla town and one in Naidkhai town were killed Saturday when mobs went on rampage targeting police stations, government buildings and security force camps in these towns.