Kashmir on the boil: Youth killed in retaliatory fire, death toll rises to 41
A youth died in retaliatory firing by security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday, taking the total number of people killed to 41 on the eight day of protests over the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in an encounter. South Kashmir remained relatively peaceful.
Police said protesters tried to storm a police post in Hatmulla Kupwara, prompting retaliatory action.
“At Hatmulla, a violent mob attacked the police post and attempted to set it on fire. While dealing with the situation, one person was injured, who later succumbed to his injuries,” a police spokesperson said.
The authorities imposed a curfew in the Valley as separatists extended their strike call by three days in view of two youths killed in police firing on Friday.
Police reported incidents of violent clashes and stone-pelting at several places in Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts of north Kashmir on Saturday.
“Stray and intermittent incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Pothkhah in Sopore, Hatmulla and Khumriyal in Kupwara, Papchan, Nasu and the new bus stand in Bandipora,” the spokesman said. “An unruly mob set on fire a police guardroom at Wullar Vintage Park in Bandipora.”
Injuries were also reported among security personnel, including a sub-inspector. All the injured were referred to Srinagar for treatment, he said.
Kashmir has been on the boil since Hizbul Mujahideen militant Wani was killed in an encounter on June 8. The subsequent protests escalated amid reports of heavy-handedness of security forces in dealing with protestors. The state government, however, has given assurances that the forces will maintain restraint.
In addition to 41 deaths, mostly due to bullet injuries, over 1,400 people have been injured in the ongoing turmoil. More than 110 people are being treated for pellet injuries in the three super-speciality hospitals of Srinagar.
A delegation of legislators, including CPI (M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, Hakim Mohammed Yaseen and Gh Hassan Mir, met the governor to express “deep concern” over the hardships being faced by the common people because of the “excessive use of force against protestors and use of lethal weapons/pellet guns in dealing with the protesters, which has led to loss of precious lives and grave injuries inflicted on hundreds”.
“The delegation demanded immediate halt to use of excessive force and also lethal weapons, pellet guns, and [that] indiscriminate arrests are stopped forthwith. They also demanded proper treatment to the injured and availability of vital and essential drugs in the hospitals and more seriously injured persons to be shifted to super speciality hospitals outside the state to save their lives,” Tarigami said in a statement.