In unrelenting protests in the wake of separatists call to march towards Sopore to protest killing of three youths in CRPF firing in the last four days, two protesters were killed on Monday in security forces’ action. While one youth was shot dead in security forces’ firing on the peripheries of Sopore, another 9-year-old was killed in firing at Baramulla. The toll of civilian death in the last fortnight has risen to eight.
The victim, identified as Tajamul Bashir (17), a resident of Wadoora, was hit in the chest in the peripheries of Sopore when he along with other marchers were heading towards Sopore in response to moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) separatist call.
The incident happened at the Kapra cinema adjoining the town. Two others were grievously injured in the security forces action. For the third day today, indefinite curfew remained on in the town. Locals claim communication lines like cell-phone services too have been snapped.
A nine-year-old boy was killed when clashes broke out immediately after the news of Bashir’s death spread in other districts in Kashmir. Security forces used force to quell the protesters in Baramulla, 25 km away from Sopore and 60 north of Srinagar. However, the teenager was grievously injured in security forces again and later succumbed to his injuries.
Since morning, motley groups of marchers from both south and north Kashmir have been on the way to Sopore. The biggest procession was taken out from Rajouri Kadal in downtown Srinagar and thousands of protesters became part of the march when it reached Parimpora, which is on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway.
The procession was led by moderate second-rung separatist leaders, while Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with other leaders continued to be under house arrest. Security forces resorted to heavy smoke-shelling near Parimpora. No major injury is reported from the area.
“We have rushed 4-5 ambulances to the spot. Since morning three civilians were injured in security forces’ action,” said Casualty Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Mushtaq at leading Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital.
Eyewitnesses told the Hindustan Times that they saw many protesters falling to the ground at Parimpora after security forces resorted to shelling and firing in the area. There has been no official confirmation on the number of protesters injured in the incident.
“It was difficult to control the protesters as they would return every time the police would quell them,” said a police officer on the duty.
There have been reports of minor clashes from several areas in Srinagar like Barzalla, Nowhatta since morning.