Two men died in separate parts of Kashmir on Saturday as protesters clashed with security forces, taking the death toll to 77 in the recent unrest triggered by the killing of a militant in July.
Sayar Ahmed Sheikh, 25, died after he was reportedly hit on head by a tear gas shell in clashes with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on the 64th day of the shutdown in the region .
He was taken to a hospital where he was declared brought dead, a police spokesperson said.
Sheikh was among the dozens of protesters who were challenged by security forces when they marched in a village defying restrictions on the assembly of four or more people.
Yawar Ahmad Dar, 23, died of pellet gun injuries he had suffered in clashes in Anantnag’s Batengoo.
Though considered non-lethal, pellet guns have been under scrutiny with reports of many of its victims losing sight and deaths. Under pressure, the government has proposed to introduce substitutes to pellet guns for crowd control.
In Srinagar, the family of a man who died in a hospital Friday night claimed he was beaten by security personnel, but police records say he succumbed to injuries he had suffered in a road accident.
Abdul Qayoom, 47, was a driver with the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department and a resident of the old city of Srinagar.
Kashmir has been on the boil since security forces killed militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Over 12,000 civilians and security personnel have been injured in the unrest and the Valley has been observing a separatist-called shutdown for over two months.
Efforts by the Centre and the state government to restore peace have failed to yield results with Kashmiri separatists refusing to be a part of the dialogue process.
Kashmir was shut for the 64th consecutive day and all educational institutions, markets and public transport were shuttered.
People in Srinagar came out of their homes during the 12-hour period (6pm – 6am) when separatists relaxed their shutdown to shop and prepare for Eid, which is scheduled on Tuesday.
(With inputs from IANS)