Kashmir on edge after 5 more die in security forces firing

Death toll in over month long unrest rises to 66, Govt enforces tough curfew, Separatists call for UN march for 72 hours

Published: 16th August 2016 10:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2016 06:59 AM   |  A+A-

Five more killed

A protestor shouts slogans from the top of a street light in Kashmir | AFP

SRINAGAR: Kashmir is on edge and situation is very volatile after five civilians were killed in police and paramilitary CRPF firing at two places in Valley on Tuesday, taking the death toll of people killed in over month long unrest to 66.

The residents of Beerwah alleged that police and CRPF men fired without any provocation on a group of people in the village early this morning.

Curfew, shutdown continues in Kashmir for 39th consecutive day

In the CRPF firing, three civilians were killed on spot and 12 others sustained bullet injuries. The injured were evacuated to different hospitals, where one of the critically injured succumbed to injuries. The doctors attending on the injured have termed condition of two of the injured as critical.

The slain youth were identified as Javaid Ahmed Sheikh (17), Manzoor Ahmed Lone (29), Muhammad Ashraf Wani (32) and Javaid Ahmed Najar, all residents of Aripanth Beerwah.

The locals termed police and CRPF firing as “targeted” and “intentional” saying no protests or stone pelting were going on in the area when paramilitary personnel fired indiscriminately on the people, some of whom had gone to fetch bread and milk.

They said the cops had launched three raids on the village since yesterday to arrest the youth and when people resisted these raids, the police and CRPF men descended on the village early this morning and fired on the people.

Another youth identified as Amir Ganie was killed when security men opened fire on protesters at Larkipora area in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district today.

The killing sparked protests in the area with protestors setting ablaze the house of a local army man.

With five more deaths, the death toll of people killed in the clashes between security personnel and youth during ongoing unrest triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani to 66. Over 8000 people including over 4500 civilians have been injured in the clashes with more than 1000 youth receiving pellet injuries. Most of the pellet-hit injured have suffered injuries in eyes and the authorities had to call doctors from outside State to perform eye surgeries of pellet-victims. Many youth hit by pellets in eyes have lost eye sight.

After the fresh civilian killings, authorities enforced tough curfew and restrictions in all parts of Kashmir including summer capital Srinagar to foil fresh protests.

Thousands of police and paramilitary personnel armed with anti-riot gears were deployed to enforce curfew. The cops had placed armoured vehicles and concertina wires on the roads to prevent public movement.

However, angry youth at many places in the Valley including at two places, where the fresh killings took place, people defied curfew and restrictions and staged anti-India demonstrations.  Chanting anti-India, pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans, the agitating youth were demanding an end to civilian killings and resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The angry youth at some places clashes with police and CRPF men, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse them. About 100 people including securitymen were injured in the clashes across the Valley today.

It was for the 39th consecutive day today that life in Valley remained crippled by curfew and restrictions imposed by authorities and shutdown called by the separatists against the civilian killings.

Since July 9, a day after Burhan was killed, authorities imposed curfew to foil protests and separatists called for shutdown. The authorities have been enforced curfew and restrictions since then and separatists have extended the strike call upto August 18.

The mobile internet services has remained suspended since July 9. Only post-paid BSNL mobile phones are working while prepaid mobile services have been suspended after being temporarily restored for a brief period with no outgoing facility.

Reacting to the fresh civilian killings, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have asked people to come out on roads and start a 72 hour march towards the UN office from Wednesday morning.

“Where ever the forces stop people from moving forward, they should sit on the road, hold placards and protest peacefully for 72 hours,” they said adding UN is duty bound to fulfill its promise to the people of the state, the march is a reminder to the world body to stop being a mute spectator of the killing of Kashmiris and fulfill the commitments made to them.

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