Dozens injured in fresh Kashmir violence

Srinagar : Dozens of civilian protesters were injured in fresh violence across the restive Kashmir Valley on Saturday, a day after three more persons, including a student, were killed in clashes with security forces, taking the toll to nearly 55 in the current unrest.

According to police, at least two dozen persons were wounded in a clash with security forces in south Kashmir’s Chee village of Anantnag. Civilian witnesses said at least 40 people were injured in the incident.

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Witnesses said the protesters had installed a tent in the village and were planning a sit-in when security forces ransacked the marquee. As people resisted, forces fired tear gas shells and pellets to disperse the protesters.

A police spokesman said that security forces used batons and tear gas to disperse the stone-pelting mob in Heepora, Shopian, also in the south of the valley. At least eight people were reported wounded there.

In another incident in north Kashmir Pattan area, four persons were injured when security forces fired pellets at an angry mob, the spokesman said. The injured included a teenage girl, Muzamila Bano.

The spokesman added that protesters assembled at the main crossing of Pattan to demonstrate against the killing spree in Kashmir. The protesters shouted pro-freedom slogans and threw stones at security forces before the latter lobbed tear gas and fired pellets to disperse the mob.

The Kashmir Valley has been on the boil for almost a month now after the July 8 killing of pro-Pakistan rebel commander Burhan Wani. At least 55 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the days of turmoil.

On Friday, a Class 12 student was among the three people killed in firing by security forces. Nearly 150 were injured in some 200 violent protest demonstrations across the valley.

The surge in the violence came as the central government informed the Supreme Court in Delhi on Friday that normalcy was returning to Kashmir and the situation has remarkably improved.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticized the Centre over the continued violence and for misleading the top court.

Abdullah tweeted that more deaths have occurred in the valley and “the Centre tells the Honorable Supreme Court that ‘things are improving’. Wow!”

“Seriously? By which stretch of the imagination? I haven’t met anyone in the valley except the BJP-PDP ostriches who agree!”

He said the situation in the valley was “heart-breaking and worrying in equal measure” and took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on Kashmir.

“At what point will the Centre (read Honorable Prime Minster) wake up to the crisis here,” he wrote.

Curfew, restrictions, and separatist-called shutdown continued for the 29th day on Saturday at many places in the Kashmir Valley.

Shops, businesses, and schools remained shut, and traffic was off the roads in the areas where there was no restrictions or curfew.

Separatist leaders have extended their shutdown call till August 12.