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Sunday, September 4, 2016

PDP block president’s house torched for arranging Mehbooba’s visit to Kulgam family

Youth dies in Qazigund clash; death toll reaches 73; ‘non-Muslim’s body’ surfaces in Jhelum

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 3: Close on the heels of burning down PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house in Chawalgam, Kulgam, separatists on Saturday have torched the house of PDP’s block president for arranging Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s visit to a family which has lost a member in the current turmoil in the same district in South Kashmir.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that Chief Minister and President of PDP Mehbooba Mufti flew to Kulgam area by helicopter along with her maternal uncle and PDP leader Mohammad Sartaj Madani. She called on the bereaved family of one Mashooq Ahmad Sheikh at Kraloo, Kund, who had got killed in August in security forces’ firing while participating in a demonstration in the wake of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter.

Reports said that Mehbooba extended her condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family and assured them full support from her government. As soon as she emerged out of the family, a number of the residents gathered and staged a protest demonstration, holding her responsible for over 70 civilian killings in the last 57 days of the turbulence. DC and other officers escorted her back to the helicopter and she returned to Srinagar.

Within hours, hundreds of the separatist protesters gathered at the residence of PDP’s block president Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh at Batpora in Kund area while levelling allegation that he had arranged Chief Minister’s visit to the Kulgam family. They set his house on fire. However, another report said that the protesters had asked the PDP leader to secure release of three detainees and threatened that in case of his failure they would destroy his house. As the PDP leader failed to get the detainees released, the protesters torched his house.

On August 31, separatist protesters had burned down PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house at Chawalgam, Kulgam.

Body fished out at Amirakadal

Here in the summer capital, hundreds of residents of Amirakadal area gathered at Hari Sigh High Street in the evening after an unidentified male body was spotted and fished out of river Jhelum near Gonikhan market. Tension prevailed in the area as the shops that had opened after the day’s shutdown at 6.00 pm, were again shut.

SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar told STATE TIMES that the gathering levelled allegations that Police and security forces had tortured or shot dead a Kashmiri protester whose body had been thrown in Jhelum. He said that without waiting for identification, the gathering performed funeral prayers at Hari Singh High Street and the demonstrators began carrying the body for another namaaz-e-janazah at Lalchowk. Police swung into action and took the body into custody for identification and medico-legal formalities.

“It was a semi-decomposed body with apparently no bullet, pellet or shell injuries. It appears that the body had been under water for three or four days. It had a swollen face. Apparently the deceased appeared to be a Nepali. The body had ‘Om’ and a Trishul mark tattooed on one arm which made it clear that the deceased was a non-Muslim. Subsequently, we observed that the genital organ was without circumcision. It is clear enough that the deceased is a non-Muslim and mostly likely a non-local. We don’t have any missing reports but we have ordered an inquest”, SSP Srinagar said.

Youth killed in Kulgam

Reports from Kulgam added that in the evening, people recovered the body of a 17-year-old Basit Ahmad Ahangar of Vessu, Qazigund, from a roadside nullah along Srinagar-Jammu highway, near Vessu. It was rushed to District Hospital Anantnag where doctors found pellets in one leg and a severe wound in the deceased youth’s head. Officials claimed that Basit had apparently fled while being chased with a crowd of stone pelters. He seemed to have fallen or jumped into the nullah. His head seemed to have smashed against a hard surface or a rock, possibly causing his death.

Official sources said that the post mortem would be conducted on Sunday and it could make clear whether the youth had died of falling in the nullah or he had sustained a bullet or tear gas shell injury in his head. With this, death toll in the last 57 days of current turbulence has risen to 73.

On the 57th consecutive day of shutdown, following Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, around 60 clashes took place between the protesters and Police/CRPF across turbulent Kashmir valley on Saturday. Official sources said that over 200 protesters sustained injuries in these clashes. The most violent clashes were reported from Beerwah in Budgam district and Rainipora in Anantnag district. As many as 70 people were reportedly injured in the two clashes.

Police version

According to a statement issued by Zonal Police Headquarters, curfew was lifted from Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Baramulla and most parts of Srinagar today. “However, curfew remained in force in the areas falling under the Police Stations of Maisuma, Batamaloo, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and M R Gunj,” the statement said.

It said that 12 incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Sopore and Kupwara. “At these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles and on police and security force deployments,” the statement said. “Barring these incidents of stray stone pelting, the overall situation remained under control,” said the statement issued in the evening.

[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

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