Another protester killed in Srinagar firing, toll 24


Srinagar : A 16-year-old was killed in police firing in Srinagar – the second to die Tuesday – as protesters across the old city defied the curfew to take to the streets. This takes to 24 the toll in the last five days of unending violence in the Kashmir Valley.

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A farmer was injured when he was allegedly shot at by the security forces in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, while two protesters were injured when police fired on a mob defying the curfew in central Badgam district.

Anees Ahmad was killed when security forces fired at a mob in Srinagar’s Eidgah area.

“Anees Ahmad was killed when mobs defied curfew in Eidgah area and the security forces fired to bring the situation under control,” a senior police officer said here.

A huge procession of mourners marched towards the martyrs’ graveyard in Eidgah area carrying Ahmad’s body. In order to avoid further clashes, the authorities removed security forces from the route.

Earlier, Mehraj-ud-Din, 23, was killed in clashes between curfew-defying mobs and the security forces in Barthana area of the city.

A farmer, identified as Muhammad Akbar, 45, was allegedly shot at and critically wounded by the security forces in Rangwar village in Baramulla.

Residents alleged that Akbar was working in his paddy field when security forces passing through the village fired at him.

Akbar has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.

A mob defied the curfew in the Sheikhpora area of Badgam, 14 km from here, prompting security forces to open fire.

“Despite repeated announcements and warnings that nobody should take to the streets since curfew continued in the area, unruly mobs came out in Sheikhpora area, hurling rocks and stones at the security forces.

“In the resultant firing, two protesters were injured and immediately moved to the hospital where doctors said they were out of danger. They suffered leg injuries,” the police officer said.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani had called for a peaceful rally Tuesday from Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura where he is admitted, to the martyrs’ graveyard in the old city. Authorities, however, declined permission.

Geelani Monday said he would lead the rally himself and assured the authorities that the rally would be peaceful. However, authorities continued with curfew restrictions in the Srinagar city and all other major towns of the Valley.

Geelani told a local news agency that he had assured the authorities that no violence would occur during his proposed rally.

“They did not allow the rally. It appears some agencies are after me and I fear I might be arrested again. I have, therefore, authorized Masrat Alam (an underground leader of Geelani’s Hurriyat group) to continue the Quit Kashmir campaign and issue resistance programmes which have received wide public support in the Valley,” the news agency quoted Geelani as saying.

In Srinagar, roads were completely deserted as shops, educational institutions, banks, post offices and other businesses remained closed and the only vehicles seen were those of the security forces.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah chaired a meeting of the unified command in Srinagar late Monday evening, after returning from meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi.

Sources said the security forces have been instructed to firmly tackle violence in the Valley, but at the same time ensure that firearms are not used unless all other preventive measures are exhausted.