Protests in Srinagar after boy dies of pellet injuries, toll reaches 86
Protests erupted in Harwan on the outskirts of Srinagar on Saturday morning after the pellet-ridden body of a 11-year-old boy was recovered late last night in the area.
The death toll in the unrest in the Valley that began following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8 has now risen to 86, including two policemen.
According to residents of the area, 11-year old Nasir Shafi Qazi , nicknamed Momin, went missing soon after clashes with security forces in the New Theed area on Friday evening.
Locals started searching for Momin as news spread that he had gone missing. Soon, they found his body which had multiple pellet injuries. A student of class 7, he was the youngest of three siblings.
Momin’s father alleged that his son was also hit on the head.
“My son’s body had bruises on head and neck and it seems like he was also hit,” Mohammad Shafi said.
“It appears the boy was hit by pellets. The IGP Kashmir is investigating the matter,” said SP, director-general of police (co-ordination and law and order)
On Friday, a 13-year-old boy succumbed to tear gas shell injuries he had sustained on September 5. Three civilians have been killed in clashes with security forces since Eid on September 13.
Internet services were restored in the Valley on Saturday night after they were snapped on September 12 in view of the apprehensions of law-and-order problems. Private cell phone services and mobile internet remain suspended.
For over two months now, unrest has been convulsing Kashmir. A long spell of curfew across the Valley and shutdowns called by the separatists, protests and crackdowns by security forces had become routine.
Two successive visits by union home minister Rajnath Singh in July and August and then an all-party delegation’s visit earlier this month has not made much difference to the situation on the ground.
While separatists were lukewarm to the all-party delegation, Syed Ali Shah Geelani flat refusal to meet any member of the delegation, has led the government to mull punitive action against the hardliners.
Meanwhile, the use of pellet guns that have blinded many protesters remains a contentious issue. Despite calls by opposition parties and rights groups to ban the use of pellet guns, the government has refused to do so although it has said that it is considering other means such as chilli grenades for crowd control.