Two deaths reported as all-party team concludes visit, Kashmir toll at 75
A youth was killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Tuesday even as an all-party delegation left the Valley without meeting the separatists considered vital to ending the two-month unrest that has now left 75 people dead.
Residents said Naseer Ahmad, 20, was wounded after forces fired tear gas shells and pellets to disperse protesters in Seer Hamdan village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Tuesday.
Violent street protests erupted in the Valley after a militant leader was killed in a gunfight with security forces on July 8 in southern Kashmir. Stone-throwing mobs have clashed with security forces, causing injuries on both sides. Normal life has been disrupted with separatists’ calling strikes and authorities imposing a rolling curfew.
As the all-party team led by home minister Rajnath Singh was in the Valley to assess the ground situation and look for ways to end the violence, a 17-year-old resident of north Kashmir’s Sopore town died at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital on Monday evening.
Musaib Majeed Nagoo suffered a head injury --- allegedly during a clash with security forces --- and was put on ventilator support after surgery.
“He had a depressed fracture probably caused by a tear gas shell,” said SMHS superintendent Dr Nazir Choudhary.
More violence was reported on Monday as a mob set on fire the house of a policeman after security forces tried to disperses a mob holding a rally in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Twenty people were injured.
The policeman whose house was torched was part of the group that was trying to control the mob in Zangalpora village, sources said. Residents got angry after security forces raided the protest rally venue in the morning, residents said.
Clashes were also reported from some places in summer capital Srinagar as well. Security forces used tear shells to break up a group marching to join a “pro-freedom” rally in Bagh-e-Mehtab Machoo area of Srinagar.
But a police spokesperson said on Tuesday curfew has been lifted from entire Srinagar city following improvement in the situation. He, however, said restrictions on the assembly of people will remain across the Valley to maintain law and order.
Shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut during day time. They open in the evening when the separatists have announced relaxation in the strike for some days of the week.
With the Hurriyat Conference leader refusing to meet the team of politicians, the Centre and the state will have to come up with new measures to restore calm in the Valley.
Analysts say some confidence-building measures will have to be taken immediately to bridge the trust deficit. Lifting of curfew, a ban on pellet guns that have caused eye injuries and release of Hurriyat leaders could help defuse the situation, they say.
(With agency inputs)
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