3 civilians killed, 300 injured in fresh Kashmir clashes; toll reaches 55
Pro-Azadi, pro-Pakistan demonstrations in entire Valley on 28th day of continued shutdown; forces foil separatists’ march to Hazratbal; militants join rallies in Anantnag, Sopore
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Aug 5: Three more civilian protesters were killed and around 300 injured on Friday in fresh violence across Kashmir valley on 28th day of continued shutdown, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8.
Authorities foiled the separatists-sponsored march to Hazratbal with strict enforcement of curfew in the summer capital and some major district headquarters. Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik had in a joint statement asked the people to gather at Hazratbal for Friday congregational prayers and paying tributes to over 50 civilian protesters who have got killed in clashes with Police and security forces after Burhan Wani’s death.
With Malik being already in jail, Police took into preventive custody Geelani and Mirwaiz and held them for the day at Police Stations of Humhama and Nageen respectively. All other prominent separatist leaders remained either in detention or house arrest. While as peaceful protest processions were carried out at several places, many of the demonstrations turned violent as Police and security forces blocked their passage and the protesters engaged them in ding dong battles in all the ten districts in Kashmir.
Official sources told STATE TIMES that three protesters got killed in the clashes, raising the death toll of post-Burhan turbulence to 55, including two Police officials. They said that 20-year-old Danish Rasool Mir s/o Ghulam Rasool Mir of Wagora Kreeri got killed on the bypass at Batpora, in Sopore town, when CRPF used pump action guns to prevent a mob of around 100 people from torching a vehicle. The CRPF vehicle had developed a snag. Sources said that the youthful Danish Mir was severely hit in his throat. He later succumbed to injuries.
Mohammad Maqbool Wagay s/o Mohammad Sultan Wagay of Lolipora was hit during a violent clash at Nagam, Chadoura, when CRPF opened fire. He too succumbed to injuries before reaching hospital. Residents claimed that a CRPF party passed through Nagam and opened fire straight on Maqbool and another youth when a demonstration was going on at Chadoura, 3 Kms short of Nagam. They said that CRPF personnel allegedly barged into the hospital, roughed up attendants and visitors and ransacked several houses on the road.
Officials, however, maintained that a CRPF party opened fire when it was subjected to intense stone pelting by unruly youths shortly after a major demonstration at Chadoura.
Around 20-year-old Sameer Ahmad Wani of Mulnaro Khansahab got killed when CRPF opened fire on a violent demonstration at Khansahab in Budgam district. Another crowd attacked a camp of CRPF 117 Bn at Hardupunzu Arizal in the same upper Budgam belt. CRPF retaliated with tearsmoke and pump action guns. Some of the protesters were reportedly injured.
Over 250 protest demonstrations took place in Kashmir valley on Friday after the congregational prayers at different mosques. Prayers could not be conducted at Hazratbal, Jamia Masjid and many other mosques due to strict enforcement of curfew and prohibitory orders. Officials said that around 250 persons sustained injuries in these clashes. Of them, 120 were treated at SKIMS, 79 at SMHS and 40 at SKIMS Medical College Bemina. Around 50 of the injured were reportedly treated at District Hospitals.
Reports said that protest processions came out at different places, mainly in Budgam, Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara districts. At several places, all-women peaceful demonstrations were held across the Valley. In the backdrop of Pakistani militant songs and slogans at different mosques, clashes took place between the protesters and security forces at many places after the evening prayers. Dukhtaraan-e-Millat organisation organised all-female processions at several places in Srinagar and other districts.
Informed sources said that three armed militants joined a procession at Janglat Mandi in Anantnag town. However, it turned back and dispersed peacefully. Sources said that 5 armed militants joined a protest demonstration at Panzinara in Sopore.
All shops and business establishments including educational institutions, banks and other private offices remained shut on 28th consecutive day even as many Government offices operated with thin attendance. Due to blockades created by unruly groups on all roads, Government employees have failed to reach their offices to discharge their duties.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]