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Omar appeals for peace as violence spreads to south Kashmir

Three more youths were killed today when CRPF allegedly opened fire during clashes with protestors in Anantnag as violence spread to south Kashmir and more towns in the valley were put under curfew. Kashmir unrest: Pics
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Srinagar
UPDATED ON JUN 29, 2010 11:21 PM IST

Three more youths were killed on Tuesday when CRPF allegedly opened fire during clashes with protestors in Anantnag as violence spread to south Kashmir and more towns in the valley were put under curfew.

With Tuesday's deaths, eight teenaged boys have lost their lives in the last five days in incidents of fatal shootings involving security forces escalating the tense situation in the valley. In all, 11 youths have died in the last three weeks during clashes between protestors and security forces.

Police identified the killed as Ishfaq Ahmed Khanday (15), Imtiyaz Ahmad Itoo (17) and Shujatul Islam (19). The victims were part of a mob hurling stones at CRPF personnel in Anchidoora in Anantnag town, 55 kms from here, police said

Two persons received bullet wounds in the incident and were rushed to S K Institute of Medical sciences here, they said. While Khanday and Itoo were killed on the spot, Islam died on the way to the hospital, police added.

Locals alleged that the CRPF personnel barged into the houses and shops while chasing a stone pelting mob protesting the rise in killings by security forces and shot the victims from close range inside a house and a bakery shop.

They said the two were rushed to district hospital where doctors declared them brought dead.

As the news of death of two teenagers spread, more people poured on the roads and set ablaze three vehicles of CRPF at Khannabal-Pahalgam road in the town, official sources said.

This is the second firing incident in Anantnag town since this morning. Earlier, 16-year-old boy Irshad Ahmad Bhat received a bullet injury in his left leg when police opened fire on a mob at Mattan Bus Stand, 65 kms from here.

Bhat was rushed to bones and joint hospital in Barzullah here for treatment. Besides Bhat, 20 other persons including ten policemen were injured in day-long clashes between stone pelting mob and law enforcing agencies in the town.

Fresh clashes also broke out in parts of Srinagar and Baramulla leaving 13 people injured.

With violence spreading to more places, curfew was imposed this morning in parts of Baramulla, Anantnag and seven police station areas of Srinagar as the situation remained tense in troubled Sopore in the wake of the protests. In view of the violence, mobile services in north Kashmir and SMS service in the entire valley were blocked on the instructions of the state government.

The mobile services in north Kashmir were later restored after remaining suspended for a day and a half while SMS service throughout the valley is still blocked.

With separatists giving fresh calls for strike, life remained crippled across Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday.

In Anantnag, 65 kms from here, locals assembled at a bus stand and protested against the killings. Paramilitary forces deployed in the town initially cane charged them but when they refused to budge, they opened fire.

In Srinagar, agitators staged protest demonstrations in Maisuma area, Zaldager, Galwanpora, the airport road, Nund Resh Colony, Boatman colony in Bemina, Batmaloo and HMT Zainakote, he said. Five persons were injured in the clashes.

In Baramulla town of north Kashmir where a teenager was killed on Monday, people staged demonstrations in the town, Delina and Khanpora and clashed with security forces resulting in injuries to five persons, he said.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made an emotional appeal for peace vowing to ensure return of normalcy soon and slammed anti-national and vested interests for instigating violence.

Breaking his silence since violence broke out last Friday , Abdullah also sent a tough message declaring "wherever curfew has been imposed it will be enforced strictly."

"The cycle of violence has to stop," the Chief Minister told reporters.

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