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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Two more civilians killed in Valley; toll reaches 40

Govt. says militants from crowds attacked forces at several places; over 100 injured in 250-0dd clashes across valley on Friday; Kashmir under curfew for 7th day running; separatists extend protest shutdown by 3 more days

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 15: Reeling under curfew and shutdown on 7th consecutive day, following Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, Kashmir valley on Friday witnessed around 250 clashes between separatists and security forces, resulting in two more fatal casualties and raising the death toll in current turbulence to 40.

Authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that around 250 clashes took place across the Valley on Friday between separatists and security forces. As the district magistrates had clamped curfew and the separatists had called for protest shutdown on the seventh consecutive day, around 100 civilians and 30 Police and CRPF personnel sustained injuries in the clashes. With this addition, around 1,700 persons have been injured in the week-long valley-wide protests.

Sources said that after conclusion of the weekly congregational prayers at different mosques, people responding to the separatists’ call organised protest demonstrations. Many of these demonstrations culminated into clashes with Police and security forces.

Clash in Kulgam

At Yaripora, in Kulgam district of South Kashmir, demonstrators clashed with Police and CRPF. Sources said seven Police personnel and three protesters sustained injuries. One of the critically injured Policemen, Mudassar Ahmad Shah, was airlifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital as the unruly crowds on way did not let the ambulances evacuate the injured personnel. Later, three more Policemen were rushed to SKIMS and SMHS Hospital and two more were treated at District Hospital Anantnag. Three injured protesters were evacuated to District Hospital Kulgam. One of them, identified as Sayyar Ahmad Kumhar of Chitragam, reportedly died on way to hospital.

A J&K Police spokesman said in a press release that militants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on Police party which was dealing with violent protesters at Yaripora. “Seven police personnel and three civilians received gunshot and splinter injuries. One civilian died of militant firing. The police party exercised maximum restraint and did not retaliate to avoid civilian causalities. The seven injured policemen have been hospitalised among whom one Constable Mudasir Ahmed Shah is critical”, the spokesman added.

Civilian sources in Kulgam said that the unruly crowd set on fire three Government offices on fire. They claimed that the Policeman was injured when a grenade or teargas shell went off in his hand, causing injuries to seven personnel. According to them, there was no militant attack on Police from the crowd.

Reports awaiting official confirmation at midnight said that the critically injured Constable Mudasir Ahmad Shah died at Army hospital.

Clash in Kupwara

In yet another similar incident, over a hundred protesters attacked a Police party at Izgund Khumriyal in Kalaroos area of Kupwara after the Friday prayers. In the retaliatory action by Police and security forces, a young civilian, namely Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai of Tawheedpora Ganai Mohalla Kalaroos, got killed. Three of the injured were rushed to a hospital. Sources in Kupwara said that the clashes also occurred at Drugmulla and Nutnusa in which around 10 protesters sustained injuries.

An official spokesman claimed that both at Drugmulla and Nutnusa, protesters and militants attacked the Army camps. He said: “At Dragmulla Kupwara, an unruly mob attacked an army camp. In tackling the mob three persons were injured. One of them succumbed to his injuries”.

The spokesman added: “In another such incident the militants lobbed grenades on police and CRPF party which was dealing with violent protesters at Natnusa, Kupwara. Seven security personnel received splinter injuries and have been hospitilised. In another incident militants fired on police personnel of Police station Lolab deployed for law and order duties, resulting in injuries to two policemen”.

However, independent sources in North Kashmir maintained that the only civilian casualty on Friday took place at Izgund, Kalaroos when Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai died in retaliatory action by Police.

Official sources said that near Khaitengan, Baramulla, a violent mob attacked an army party and tried to snatch a soldier’s AK-47 rifle. Two persons got injured in this incident. According to the sources, two brothers, namely Hilal Lone and Sajjad Lone, attempted to snatch away a soldier’s rifle. Army opened fire in which both were injured. However, another person seized and decamped with the rifle. Later, it was recovered with the help of local Sarpanch and returned to the Army.

The official spokesman said that the militants took shelter among the protesters and attacked police and CRPF personnel deployed for law and order duties.

“During incidents of stone pelting at various places in Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama Districts a number of security force personnel and civilians sustained injuries”. He said that two Policemen got injured when militants fired upon a Police party in Lolab, Kupwara.

On Thursday evening, some people forced the PSO-Driver of SP Headquarters Srinagar to stop at Fruit Mandi, Parimpora, when he was driving to a friend’s home in his Maruti car. As the people learned that he was a Policeman, they roughed him up severely and left him wounded. He managed to escape, leaving behind his car that was set on fire and destroyed by the crowd. He was later admitted to Police Hospital.

2 injured in militant attack

Sources in South Kashmir said that at 10.00 pm, unidentified militants appeared at Kareemabad Pulwama and they fired on legs of Manzoor Ahmad Pandit and Shabir Ahmad Pandit---cousins of former militant Tariq Pandit who had been arrested by Army earlier this year. Tariq Pandit for several months was right-hand man of the Hizbul Mujahideen top commander Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter at Bamdora Anantnag alongwith two more militants on July 8.

Both the injured with gunshot wounds in their legs were rushed to hospital.

[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

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