NEW DELHI: As many as 306 incidents of stone pelting have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 when the government scrapped its special status. According to sources, around 100 security personnel, including 89 from the central paramilitary forces, have been injured in the stone pelting protests in the last two months. In the first six months of 2019, there had only been around 40 incidents of stone pelting, officials had earlier said.
On August 6, Parliament approved abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, granted under Article 370 of the Constitution, and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories. Fearing a huge backlash against the move, a massive deployment of troops was done in the Valley in August. The government also imposed severe restrictions on movement and detained over 3,000 people, including almost the entire mainstream political leadership. Phone and internet services were also suspended.
While the government has maintained that “not a single bullet has been fired and not a single person has died”, there have been certain deaths during the period allegedly in action by security forces.
Seventeen-year-old Osaib Altaf drowned in the Jhelum on August 5 after his family and friends said he was chased by security personnel. Fahmeeda Shagu, 34, died due to suffocation allegedly caused by tear gas in an uptown neighbourhood of Srinagar on August 9. On August 17, 55-year-old Ayub Khan from downtown Srinagar died of asphyxiation following the bursting of a teargas shell by the security forces.
A Class XI student, Asrar Ahmed Khan, reportedly died due to injuries suffered in pellet firing during a procession in Soura area of Srinagar. He succumbed to injuries on September 4. The Army, however, denied that the boy succumbed to pellet injuries and claimed that he had died during stone pelting.
The state administration has claimed that except for sporadic stone pelting incidents, the Kashmir Valley has been peaceful and there have been far fewer protests than what was seen in the 2016 agitation
post Burhan Wani’s death.