Man injured during protests in Ganderbal dies, Kashmir shutdown continues
A 23-year-old man injured in clashes between security forces and protesters in Ganderbal district died in hospital on Tuesday, even as Kashmir remained shut for the second successive day following Sunday’s counter-insurgency operations, described by officials as the biggest in a long time.
“The injured man, Gowhar Ahmad Rather, has died,” said Dr Farooq Jan, medical superintendent of Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. Rather had a firearm injury in his head, he added.
Rather was injured during the clashes on Monday. Police ordered a departmental inquiry into the “sequence of events and actions related to the incident”.
The deputy commissioner of Ganderbal ordered a magisterial inquiry into Rather’s death. The inquiry report is expected in 20 days.
People of Rather’s home town, Kangan, clashed with security personnel as news of his deteriorating condition came in. Police said two civilians and scores of security force personnel were injured in the clashes. “Both the civilians are admitted to hospital in Srinagar and are stated to be stable, as per hospital authorities,” said a police spokesperson.
Protests erupted in the valley after Sunday’s security operations at three locations in south Kashmir left 13 militants, four civilians and three soldiers dead and more than 70 protesters injured.
Businesses, schools and colleges were shut in Kashmir on Tuesday following a call by separatists, while curfew-like restrictions were in place in parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir.
The valley’s joint separatist leadership – comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik – has announced a march towards Shopian on Wednesday, triggering law and order concerns for the administration and security personnel.
The separatist leadership proposes to head to Shopian to “express solidarity” with the people and “offer condolences” to the families of locals killed on Sunday. Shopian district saw two of the three gun battles between security forces and militants on Sunday.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted on Monday night, “The violence from yesterday is a grim reminder of the fact that at times like these we must shed our differences and come together to think of new ways to reach out to the youth and find sustainable solutions to end the dreadful cycle of violence that is consuming them endlessly.”
In a follow-up tweet, she said, “Every day it breaks my heart to see a wailing mother beckoning her son to return. So can we leave aside our accusations and counter accusations, put our heads together to save these young ones.”