Srinagar: Four people, including a 16-year-old, were killed as security forces opened fire on curfew-defying mobs across the Kashmir Valley Tuesday while another youth died of injuries, taking to 27 the toll in five days of unabated violence.
The latest death is of a youth who was critically wounded in the massive explosion Sunday at the Khrew police post in Pulwama after it was torched by the protesters. He died of his injuries in a Srinagar hospital in the evening.
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla, a farmer was injured when he was allegedly shot at by security forces, while two protesters were injured when police fired on a mob defying curfew in central Badgam district.
Two youths were killed in firing in Srinagar, one on the city’s outskirts and another in Kulgam Tuesday.
Anees Ahmad, 16, 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.
Hundreds of mourners carried Ahmad’s body to the Eidgah martyrs’ graveyard where he was buried. In order to avoid further clashes, the authorities removed security forces from the route.
The returning mourners broke into smaller groups, targeting paramilitary bunkers and government installations in the old city areas.
Mehraj-ud-Din, 23, was killed in clashes between curfew-defying mobs and the security forces in Barthana area of the city, while another youth, identified as Tahir Ahmad, 22, was killed in clashes between frenzied mobs and the security forces in Shalteng, on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Another youth, identified as Muhammad Jabbar, was killed in Frisal Yaripora village of Kulgam district when mobs attacked and torched a police post.
“After the post was abandoned by the policemen, mobs continued to chase them with murderous intent. The policemen fired in self-defence resulting in the death of a local youth and injuries to three others,” police here said.
Later, the irate mobs torched the homes of a local policeman and a special police officer (SPO) in the village.
The 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.