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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

One killed, 3 hurt in anti-Isreal protests in South Kashmir

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, July 19, 2014
First Published: 17:18 IST(19/7/2014) | Last Updated: 18:32 IST(19/7/2014)

A youth was killed and two others injured when security forces opened fire at a pro-Palestine demonstration in Kulgam district of Kashmir valley on Saturday.

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Hundreds of people assembled in Khudwani, a town in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, to protest against Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which has killed scores of children so far.

The police said the security forces fired teargas shells and then opened fire to disperse the protesters, injuring three of them critically. The youth has been identified as Suhail Ahmad Lone (16), son of Ghulam Qadir Lone of Khudwani in Kulgam.

The police said a probe has been ordered.  "An unfortunate incident of firing has taken place in Khudwani Kulgam in which one boy namely Suhail Ahmad, son of Gulam Qadir lone of Mishipora Howoora Kulgam lost his life. The circumstances leading to the incident of firing are being inquired into,'' said a Srinagar-based police spokesman
.
The police has registered an FIR in the incident and matter is being probed.

Police sources, however, said a group of youtsh were protesting against the latest Israeli ground offensive in Gaza at Qaimoh. The protests turned violent when CRPF personnel used batons to chase away the protesters. The protestors started pelting stones after which CRPF allegedly opened firing, resulting in death of one and injuries to others. The incident has been widely condemned across the valley.

While the separatist camps have called for protests and shutdown in the area, mainstream parties have also condemned the incident.
“We urge the people of Kulgam district to observe a complete shutdown against the killing of a youth,”  said Hurriyat G spokesman Ayaz Akbar.

The government has been keeping a close watch on growing street protests in the valley over Gaza situation and deployed additional troops on Thursday when a shutdown called by separatists brought the normal life to a standstill and sparked more protests. The Israel has asked its citizens to avoid visiting the state.

In north Kashmir's Palhalan area, a protester was injured when security forces fired pellets and burst smoke shells to quell protesters on Thursday. In south Kashmir, there were incidents of stone pelting in parts of Anantnag and Pulwama districts.

Both ruling National Conference, opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP have carried out protests in Srinagar against Israel. Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani described these protests as "hoax".

When the state government announced summer holidays in schools and colleges from July 15, it was speculated that the move was aimed at preventing growing pro-Palestine protests by students in educational institutions.

PDP strongly condemned the killing
In a statement issued, party president Mehbooba Mufti, expressed her condolences with the bereaved family and prayed for the everlasting peace of the deceased.

Advising restraint she said the pain and outrage against Gaza atrocities was understandable and there should be a global concern about such brazen acts of aggression against unarmed civilians.

Mehbooba said she and her party  has tried to channelise the sentiments of the people on Gaza issue in the highest democratic forum of the country. She said the empathy for Palestinians has to be respected wherever it was expressed peacefully and given due space. “We would never want the society to get entrapped once again in similar circle of avoidable violence,” said Mehbooba.

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