Army may be called in to control situation in J&K

Two persons including a nine-year-old boy were killed today during firing by CRPF in Kashmir valley to quell violence and clashes with mobs protesting against fatal shootings involving security forces.
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Updated on Jun 28, 2010 10:51 PM IST
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PTI | By, Srinagar

Two persons including a nine-year-old boy were killed today during firing by CRPF in Kashmir valley to quell violence and clashes with mobs protesting against fatal shootings involving security forces.

Public Engineering Minister and Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin said tonight help of Army may be taken to defuse the tense situation in Sopore and Baramulla if the circumstances warranted.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also took stock of the situation at a high-level meeting.

Forty-eight persons including 32 policemen were also injured in the latest of a series of clashes with security forces, official sources said. The clashes have claimed the lives of five persons since June 25 and eight in the last three weeks.

The clashes erupted as security forces used force to prevent thousands of people from marching towards curfew-bound Sopore township of Baramulla district in violation of prohibitory orders, on the call given by moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference as part of a protest against the killing of "innocent youth" over the past two weeks.

The first fatal casualty of the day was reported from Sopore township, 55 kms from here, where people again defied curfew imposed on Friday and staged a massive demonstration against the killing of Bilal Ahmad Wani allegedly in CRPF firing last evening.

The deceased identified as Tajamul ahmad Bhat (20), a resident of Wadoora, was part of a mob which allegedly tried to demolish a CRPF post near a hospital in the town when the CRPF personnel manning the picket opened fire killing him on the spot, a police spokesman said.

Refuting the police statement, Locals alleged that CRPF personnel opened fire without any provocation on the protestors who were marching towards the town to join the people protesting against the killing of Wani and two other youth who fell to the bullets of CRPF on June 25.

CRPF said it was forced to open fire in self defence following a clear case of attempt to attack the post of security forces. Home Secretary G K Pillai said the CRPF has acted with utmost restraint.

While the situation was tense in Sopore, hundreds of people from different villages of Baramulla started marching towards Sopore but were stopped by police and CRPF at Delina, 45 kms from here.

The CRPF personnel reportedly opened fire leaving two persons including a minor boy injured. The nine-year-old boy identified as Tauqeer Ahmad Rather later succumbed in a hospital, official sources said.

The call for march to Sopore was given by moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference but all the senior leaders of the separatist amalgam including its chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq were placed under house arrest by the authorities in a bid to prevent the march, fearing large scale violence.

In addition, several top separatist leaders including JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik, National Front Chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Muslim Khawateen Markaz Chief Yasmeen Raja were detained by police.

The state government meanwhile appointed Mohammed Shafi Khan as Special Commissioner for Sopore and Pankaj Saxena as Special Inspector General to defuse the tense situation in the apple town in north Kashmir.

Soon after the body of Wani was handed over to his next of kin, the locals in Sopore came out in large numbers and staged demonstration throughout the night against the killing.

The body was taken in a procession to different localities in the town and was laid to rest at the local martyrs' graveyard this morning amid massive protests.

Official sources said Policemen fired in air when the protestors reached Sopore's main chowk demanding withdrawal of CRPF camps from the town, which had witnessed surge in militancy-related violence since December last year.

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