Curfew imposed in Srinagar as 12-year-old succumbs to pellet injuries
Militants loot two more SLRs from minority guard in Pulwama; around 200 vehicles damaged, 20 injured in over 70 clashes in Valley
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Oct 8: With the authorities failing to restore semblance of normalcy in the turbulent Kashmir valley on 92nd day of continued shutdown on Saturday, a 12-year-old boy has fallen to pump action guns of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) even as the separatist demonstrators clashed with Police at more than 70 places.
Official sources told STATE TIMES that the 12-year-old student, Junaid Ahmad Akhoon of Saidpora Eidgah, succumbed to injuries in the wee hours on Saturday at SKIMS, Soura. As already reported, he had sustained critical injuries when Police and CRPF opened pellet fire on stone pelters in Eidgah area of downtown Srinagar on Friday evening. He had been hit in his head and chest.
Family members and neighbours of the young student alleged that Police and CRPF fired from pump action guns straight on Junaid though he was not part of the group clashing with the forces. “It’s yet another cold blooded murder. We fail to understand what kind of a force is this. They often spare 20 to 30 year old stone pelters but kill 8-year-olds and 12-year-old”, said a member of the Akhoon family on condition of anonymity. According to him, proof of the cold blooded murder was that even the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s party PDP had demanded time-bound probe in this killing.
Almost all the Kashmir-based mainstream and separatist political parties condemned the young boy’s killing in the Police and CRPF firing and demanded a time-bound and transparent investigation.
Early in the morning when the body was being carried to the ‘Martyrs Graveyard’ of Eidgah for funeral rites, Police and CRPF fired tear smoke canisters and forced the procession to disperse. Later, the body was laid to rest in the family’s ancestral graveyard at Saidpora amid pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans, predominantly shouted by women mourners. With this, death toll in the 92-day-long turbulence, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wanii’s death in an encounter on July 8, has crossed 90. Thousands of demonstrators and Police and CRPF personnel have suffered fractures and sustained injuries.
Sources said that as many as 70 incidents of stone pelting and clashes with Police and CRPF were reported from different areas. Curfew was imposed in jurisdiction of seven Police stations in downtown Srinagar. An official spokesman said that only a few incidents of stone pelting were reported till late on Saturday. However, officials revealed to this newspaper that not less than 70 clashes had been reported. At least 20 persons were reportedly injured in such clashes. Officials said that 61 persons were arrested today on charges of their involvement in stone pelting and mobilisation of arson and attacks on Police and paramilitary forces.
Sources said that over 200 civilian vehicles were damaged in intense stone pelting by unruly crowds for defying the separatists’ shutdown call as Police chose to remain a mute spectator. Most of the vehicles were damaged at Soura, Ompora and Sheikhpora in Budgam, Batmaloo Tengpora, Firdausabad, Shalteng, Lawaypora, Pandraithan, Zewan Balhama, Lalchowk and Khannabal Anantnag.
Weapons looted again in Pulwama
Sources said that at around 8.30 p.m, two to three militants appeared at the minority guard at Tumlahaal in Pulwama district and they snatched away two SLRs from two of the five Police personnel present on duty. Officials said that one head constable and four constables of District Police Pulwama were supposed to be present on duty with two SLRs. Both the rifles were snatched away from the constables on duty without resistance. The militants withdrew and went back to their hideouts conveniently.
Sources said that the militants chose not to harm any members of the two Pandit families at Tumlahaal. Only last evening, in a similar attempt suspected militants had failed to loot weapons from minority guards in Kulgam district when they put up armed resistance. One constable got killed and another injured in the clash. One protected Pandit was also hit in his thigh. Over 100 Police weapons have been looted by militants in South Kashmir in the last three months.