Over 40 injured in violent protests in Kashmir


Srinagar: At least 40 people, including 19 security men, were injured across the Kashmir Valley Wednesday as stone-pelting mobs clashed with security forces, protesting over the death of a 13-year-old boy three days ago, officials said

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Unruly mobs took to the streets in Rawalpora, Bemina, Batmaloo and Solina localities of summer capital Srinagar. And in old city areas, the protesters pelted stones at vehicles passing by and deployed security forces.

In the old city Nowhatta area, a youth called Shabir Ahmad Khan was reportedly hit by a tear smoke shell on the head and was shifted to the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences SKIMS) in a critical condition.

Another youth, identified as Basit, was also shifted to the institute after a tear smoke shell hit him in the abdomen. His condition is said to be stable.

Protests continued here on the third successive day Wednesday over the death of school boy Wamiq Farooq, who was hit by a tear smoke shell on the head Sunday and died in hospital.

The relatives of the boy said he was not part of the stone pelting mob but had been hit by the shell fired by the police.

The boy’s classmates said they were playing cricket in a field, and Wamiq had gone to the lane to collect the ball when the smoke gas shell hit him.

Although the authorities suspended an assistant sub-inspector and ordered an enquiry to fix responsibility and punish the guilty, protests erupted immediately after the boy’s death and are continuing in most areas of the Old City and some uptown areas of Srinagar.

A police officer said 22 security men, including 13 policemen, five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and four army jawans received injuries during stone-pelting Wednesday.

An irate mob threw stones at a passing army convoy in Rawalpora area of the city, injuring four jawans and damaging two vehicles.

“The troopers in the convoy exercised absolute restraint during the incident. The miscreants were later chased away from the highway,” said another police officer.

A mini-truck of the CRPF was reportedly torched by another unruly mob in south Kashmir’s Pulwama town.

The CRPF troopers in the vehicle escaped unhurt and they too maintained restraint in tackling the situation, police said.

Simultaneous protests also broke out in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian towns and in Baramulla in north Kashmir. Authorities have given orders to security forces to exercise utomost restraint while handling the protests.

Life in Srinagar remained paralysed for the second day Wednesday. Although separatist groups had called for a day’s shutdown here Tuesday, some masked youths told the media that the protests and shutdown would continue till Thursday when the fourth day’s funeral prayers of the boy would be offered.

Meanwhile, the boy’s mother told reporters that the family would not accept any ex-gratia relief from the authorities, who are believed to have approached them with monetary relief and promise of a government job for a member of the family.