Fresh clashes between security forces and civilians erupted on Saturday in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a day after three people were killed and hundreds injured after officials opened fire on protesters following Friday prayers.
Residents said scores of civilians, including some women, were injured in Chee village after forces fired tear gas shells and pellets to stop people from organising a pro-freedom rally. Local reports put the number of injured at 40.
They said that the locals were installing a tent in the village in the morning when the forces arrived and allegedly ransacked the tent meant for people participating in the rally. As people resisted, forces fired tear gas shells and pellets to disperse the protesters.
The violence in the valley started after the killing of Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and two other militants on July 8 in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area. At least 56 people, including Friday’s victims, have been killed and thousands wounded in a wave of protests.
In central district of Budgam, where two people were killed in firing by security forces on Friday, thousands of people, shouting pro-freedom slogans, participated in the funeral of one of the dead.
For the 29th day on Saturday, authorities continued curfew and restrictions in many parts of the Valley including old parts of capital Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag and some parts of Baramulla district in north Kashmir.
The rest of the areas - where restrictions have not been imposed - shops, businesses and schools remained shut and traffic was off the roads.
Hardline Hurriyat faction head Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the chief of the moderate faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were arrested near their residences as they tried to march to the Hazratbal shrine. Chairperson of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik has been under police detention.
Separatists extended their shutdown call till August 12, saying there will be no relaxation after 6pm. They asked people to “assemble and occupy local chowks and centres from Asar to Magrib in the vicinity of mohallas, villages and localities” on Saturday.