SRINAGAR: The ruling PDP on Saturday sought the help of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and appealed him to give chance to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti as the death toll of people killed in ongoing unrest in Kashmir triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani rose to 71.
Body of 24 year old youth Shahnawaz Ahmad Khan was fished out from Jehlum river in Marhama area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district today.
According to locals, Khan and two other youth had jumped into Jhelum after security personnel chased protestors in Marhama area during clashes yesterday.
They said while two other swam back to safety, Khan was drowned. “Khan’s body was fished out by locals today after night long efforts”.
With Khan’s death, the death toll of people killed in ongoing unrest in Kashmir triggered by killing of Burhan on July 8 has risen to 71.
Over 8000 civilians and more than 4000 security personnel have been injured in clashes between security personnel and youth during protests in the Valley in last 50 days.
Police, paramilitary and army men, meanwhile, enforced tough curfew in Srinagar today to foil separatists march to Army headquarters at Badamibagh, Sonawar.
The security men had placed at least 12 road blockades and barricades in a stretch of 8 kms from Pantha Chowk to Lal Chowk area in Srinagar and were not allowing anybody to move towards the Badamibagh area.
The cops had also sealed roads connecting Srinagar with other parts of Valley to prevent people from marching towards the army headquarters in Srinagar.
Police detained hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani when he attempted to defy house arrest restrictions and march towards army headquarters. He was lodged in Police Station Humhama and released in the evening and again placed under house arrest.
Geelani alongwith Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are spearheading the ongoing unrest in the Valley, had called for “Badamibagh March” today.
A police spokesman said curfew remained in force in Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama and Pampore towns (all in South Kashmir) while restrictions continued in other parts of the valley.
It was for the 50 consecutive day today that curfew, restriction imposed by authorities and shutdown called by separatists remained in force in the Valley.
Despite restrictions, people at many places in the Valley staged protest rallies. At some places, youth clashed with the security personnel. The cops fired pellets, tear gas shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the stone pelting youth. Dozens of people sustained injuries during the clashes with some of being hit by pellets.
A policeman identified as Khurshid Ahmad Ganai was killed when militants fired on him from point blank range in Quil area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district this morning.
The deceased cop is survived by wife, 14 years old son and aged father.
Meanwhile, ruling PDP, which is running coalition government in the state with BJP, today appealed Geelani to give Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti a chance.
PDP chief spokesman and former MP, Mehboob Beg in a statement issued here appealed Geelani to cooperate and give Mehbooba an opportunity that she deserves.
“Geelani Sahab must think of Mehbooba as his daughter, who also happens to be the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to lead the State. She is not the conventional politician that we deal with most of the times. In case, she does not bring about a change, she will be the first to own up and make way,” he said.
The PDP spokesman appealed Geelani to give her (Mehbooba) a chance as she understands the pain and pulse of the people and has risen from the grass roots.
“It would be fair that we give her a chance that she thoroughly deserves as the Chief Minister as she has risen from the grass roots. She is not asking for the moon, she is merely seeking a chance and an opportunity to perform and address the problems faced by the people. We must give her that chance and then judge her,” added Beg.