With no let up in civilian killings in Kashmir in the past four days, a teenager was killed in north Kashmir's Kupwara district in forces' firing on Tuesday while a student from South Kashmir's Bijbehara, who was injured yesterday, succumbed at a Srinagar hospital, taking the overall death toll to 32 in four days. The number of injured, according to official sources, crossed 1500 during this period, and of these, over 300 are being treated at Srinagar hospitals.
CLASS 11TH STUDENT KILLED
Witnesses said a youth was hit by bullets at Kralpora area of Kupwara district when forces "fired indiscriminately" at street protestors, injuring at least two dozen of them. One of the injured youth died on spot, they said.
The slain youth was identified as Zahoor Ahmed Sheikh of Warsun Kralpora—a student of Class 11th. The situation was tense in the area when this report was being filed as hundreds of people were hitting the streets to protest the youth's killing.
A police spokesman alleged that a group of protestors attacked a local police station and set a police vehicle on fire. "In the vehicle, many policemen were trapped. While dealing with the incident, one person was injured who later succumbed to his injuries," the spokesman claimed. Locals however maintained that the forces fired indiscriminately at the protesters who had hit the streets against civilian killings in the past four days.
BIJBEHARA YOUTH SUCCUMBS
Earlier, a youth who was injured in forces firing in south Kashmir's Bijbehara area on Monday, succumbed to his injuries at Srinagar's SMHS hospital. He was identified as Amir Ahmed Latoo of Baba Mohalla Bijbehera, a 22-year-old Delhi University pass-out. Latoo—a commerce graduate from Zakir Hussain College of Delhi University was injured along with two others when forces opened fire in Zirpara area of Bijbehara. Aamir, who was at home on vacations, hails from Baba Mohalla locality, adjacent to ancestral home of late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He, according to doctors, had sustained critical injuries in his abdomen and was operated upon at the SMHS hospital, but could not survive.
Thousands of people participated in the funeral procession of Aamir at a public park in Housing Colony Bijbehara and shouted pro-Azadi, anti-India, anti-PDP and anti-Muftis slogans. Later clashes broke out at several places in the town as forces lobbed teargas shells, pepper grenades and pellets, injuring several youth. A youth, later identified as Nissar Ahmad Mir, sustained grievous injuries after he was hit by a tear-smoke shell. He is being treated at SMHS hospital in Srinagar. Another youth from Kathsoo Sallar in Pahalgam has also reportedly sustained serious injury. However, the nature of his injury could not be immediately ascertained.
Meanwhile, curfew remained in place in most places in South Kashmir for the fourth straight day.
Reports of fierce clashes between protesters and forces personnel were reported from Rohmoo Pulwama, Tral, Pampore, Awantipora, Shopian, Zainapora, Kaimoh, Khudwani, Kulgam, Anantnag town and Kokernag. In Tral, youth clashed with forces at various places. They also torched a police picket in the area, police said.
Many youth sustained pellet and tear-gas shell injuries while several forces personnel were also injured in the clashes. A youth sustained critical injuries in Ratsuna area and was evacuated to Srinagar's JVC hospital, reports said.
In Rohmoo village of Pulwama, angry protestors set ablaze a police post, which was earlier abandoned by the cops who had already anticipated the attack, reports said. People defied curfew in several areas of Old Town and Khanabal areas in Islamabad (Anantnag) and clashed with forces who lobbed tear-gas shells, pepper grenades and pellets.
Reports said wife and daughter of a police officer were beaten up by protestors in Awantipora area.
"A group of protesters attacked the house of Sub-Inspector Muhammad Ashraf Pal at Chandrigam and beat up his wife and daughter. Both were injured in the attack," a police official alleged.
Meanwhile, according to District Magistrate Pulwama, Muneer-ul-Islam, strict curfew will remain imposed in municipal limits of Pulwama, Pampore, Rajpora and Tahab on Wednesday.
"In rest of the areas in the district, Section 144 will remain imposed and no gathering of the people will be allowed," he said.
In Kupwara district, reports said, massive clashes erupted at Kralpora, Trehgam and Kupwara towns. At least 35 youth were injured when they tried to attack a forces' camp at Trehgam. "Many injured received bullet injuries while some sustained pellet injuries as well," reports said. Clashes were going on till late evening at Kralpora area against the killing of a teenager.
Reports said youth were engaging policemen in clashes at Langate area of Handwara also where police fired dozens of tear-gas shells to disperse the protestors.
Amid restrictions imposed by Baramulla administration, thousands of people in the town offered afternoon prayers jointly at Qadeem Eidgah after call for joint prayers by local Auqaf-e-Islamia. Later, funeral-in-absentia was offered for youths killed during the past three days in the Valley.
Soon after prayers, thousands of people—amid pro-freedom slogans—marched through the Old Town. The protesters were joined by hundreds of women.
Meanwhile, sporadic clashes were reported throughout the day in Palhallan area.
According to reports, a group of youth this morning marched towards the Srinagar-Baramulla highway at Palhallan and started pelting stones at the police. The cops swung into action immediately and pushed the protesting youths towards the interiors of the town where intermittent clashes continued till evening. Police fired scores of tear-gas shells and used pellet gun to quell the protests, but failed. Three youths sustained minor injuries during these clashes.
In Bandipore, at least 20 people received pellet injuries at Hajin area during clashes. Reports said two among the protesters were hit in their eyes.
Meanwhile, Kaloosa area in Bandipora has been completely sealed off by forces, reports said.
Locals said an undeclared curfew was imposed due to which they faced problems in procuring essential commodities. Clashes also erupted in Papchan area.
Reports said intense stone-pelting took place in Nusoo village.
A 13-year-old boy Suhail Dandroo got injured during clashes while another youth Aadil Dar was arrested by police.
Residents also alleged that forces also barged into residential houses and damaged windowpanes and fired excessive teargas shells, leading to suffocation of the elderly and children.
Later, entire village came out on roads and protested against the harassment of forces.
Clashes erupted in Beerwah Budgam when a group of protestors tried to attack a forces camp, reports said.
Forces fired dozens of teargas shells to disperse the protestors.
In Nithama, Chadoora, youth resorted to clashes forcing police and paramilitary forces to resort to intense tear gas shelling to quell the protests. Reports said late night clashes erupted in Magam area where police and paramilitary forces resorted to firing of pellets and tear gas shelling in which two youth were seriously injured. The condition of a youth identified as Firdous Ahmed Mir was stated to be critical. Hospital sources in Magam said Mir has received multiple pellet injuries.
Areas falling under six police stations in old Srinagar—Rainawari, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Zadibal, Maharajgunj and Safa Kadal remained under tight curfew. Similar curbs were put in place in Maisuma area of civil lines for the fourth consecutive day. However, clashes were reported from uptown areas that include Batamaloo, Nowgam and Barzulla. Official sources said that curfew will continue to remain imposed on Wednesday in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of six police stations in old city and also in Maisuma and Batamaloo areas.
(With inputs from Altaf Baba from Baramulla, Showkat Dar from Pulwama, M A Dar from Budgam)