One more killed in Kashmir as curfew continues


Srinagar: Violence in Kashmir flared up again Friday with one person killed in firing by security forces in the valley and another battling for life even as indefinite curfew continued in all major towns for the fifth consecutive day.

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With the death of 22-year-old Fayaz Ahmad in Budgam district, the toll of those who have lost their lives in the ongoing unrest in the valley since June 11 has gone up to 91.

Police said the trouble had started after a vehicle belonging to the security forces was subjected to heavy stone pelting in Gotpora village in Badgam district, 20 km from here.

“The occupants of the vehicle fired at the mob, injuring four people. Two of them sustained critical injuries and were immediately shifted to a hospital in Srinagar,” an official said.

While Fayaz succumbed to injuries in the hospital, doctors are battling to save the other person, Muhammad Rafiq, who also sustained critical bullet injuries in the incident, hospital source said here.

The clashes erupted despite curfew being imposed in all major towns and villages for five days, prompting residents to complain of food and medicine shortages.

“Indefinite curfew shall continue today in Srinagar city and in north Kashmir’s Sopore, Handwara, Kupwara, Trehgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Baramulla towns,” a senior police officer said here.

“There will be no relaxation in Anantnag, Pulwama, Qoimoh, Bijbehara, Kulgam, Shopian and Pampore towns. Central Badgam, Chadura, Ompora and Humhama towns shall also remain under curfew,” he added.

People living in different areas of Srinagar have begun complaining of shortages of baby food, medicines, cooking gas and food.

“We have rations for just another three days left with us. My mother, who is diabetic, needs insulin injections on a regular basis. I fear if the curfew continues like this, her life would be in danger,” said a resident of Srinagar’s Old City who did not want to be named.

When the apprehensions of the residents were brought to the notice of a senior police officer here, he said: “We have made repeated announcements through local TV and radio stations as also through loudspeaker-mounted vehicles in areas under curfew that in any emergency, the residents must contact the station house officer (SHO) of the nearest police station.

“Clear orders have been given to SHOs to respond promptly to emergency calls. No civilian will be allowed to suffer on account of shortages of medicine and essential supplies.”

The officer added: “Orders are also clear about allowing ambulances carrying the sick to hospital without causing any inconvenience to them. But I must add that we have to ensure that the passage of ambulances and other vehicles belonging to essential services is genuine.”

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who spearheads the “Quit Kashmir” campaign announced by his group, has issued a protest calendar valid up to Sep 26.

As per this calendar, people have been asked to resume normal activity for two days – Sep 20 and Sep 22. Residents have also been asked to resume normal life from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.

The valley has been under curfew since 18 people were killed in unprecedented violence on Monday, Sep 12.

An all-party delegation is slated to visit Kashmir Monday to get a first hand look at the situation and suggest measures to calm tensions in the volatile valley.