Aftermath: Army Opens Fire in Baramulla, 1 Killed

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Many Injured in Demonstrations, Clashes As Govt Foils Pulwama March

SRINAGAR: Tensions escalated in the Valley on Tuesday after a 25-year-old youth was killed in army firing on protestors in Baramulla, even as wide-spread violence over the unexplained death of a Kashmiri student in Hyderabad brought the Himalayan region to a standstill again following a day of strike called by separatist groups.  

Protests and clashes broke out in large parts of Srinagar and outlying towns, including the southern district of Pulwama where authorities had clamped strict restrictions to foil a Muttahida Majlis-e-Mashawarat (MMM) march to the student’s native village of Parigam today.  

At least 40 persons, including police officers and men, where injured in the violence across the valley, several due to pellet guns fired by police and paramilitary men along with tear gas shells to quell the flare-ups.  

According to reports, the army opened fire in the old quarters of Baramulla where people had taken to the streets against a violent rampage by soldiers chasing stone-pelters.

A vehicle of the army’s 46 RR had been hit during stone-pelting in the vicinity, prompting personnel to break up the crowds surging on the roads, reports said.

Three persons, including one Tahir Rasool Sofi, received bullet injuries.

According to reports, the army had first fired into the air, but some personnel later trained guns directly on the protesting crowds.

A master’s degree holder, Sofi, who had been hit in the head, was declared brought dead by doctors at hospital.

Townsfolk carried the victim’s body in a procession and held a massive sit-in at a major old town bridge, but later laid him to rest at the local martyrs’ graveyard after funeral prayers in the Eidgah.

The deputy commissioner of the Baramulla district, Ghulam Muhammad Khwaja, who had met the protestors, confirmed that the army had opened direct fire in the old town leading to the death of one youth and injuries to several others.

He also admitted that military personnel had damaged property in the area and ransacked homes, adding that the police had been directed to register a case against the army.  

In Pulwama – the native district of Muddassir Kamran Malla who was found hanging in his hostel room in Hyderabad this Sunday – protests erupted in several localities despite strict curbs imposed by the government.

A large number of people from surrounding villages visited Malla’s home in Parigam for condolence and offered fateha at the local martyrs’ graveyard where he was buried yesterday.

Violence broke out again when a large procession from the area, passing through Wampora, Newah, Khandah and Magraypora, was blocked by police and paramilitary men in the Chadoora area of the contiguous Budgam district.

At least a score of persons were injured, with the forces personnel using cane charges and tear gas to disperse the procession and the protestors retaliating with stones.  

The sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) for Chrar-e-Shareif, Dr. Shailender Mishra, the station house officer (SHO) Manzoor Ahmad, and constables Ghulam Jeelani and Waheed Ahmad were among the police and paramilitary injured, besides a number of demonstrators.

Severe clashes also broke out in Wanpora and Khandah, leaving the areas in the grip of tension.  

Police and paramilitary men used tear gas and cane charges in the Ompora and Pakhar pora areas of the Budgam district as well to quell violent protestors.

In Srinagar, a number of Old City areas were rocked by violence – marked by stone-pelting and heavy retaliatory tear gas shelling – since early morning after a procession was blocked at Habba Kadal.

A large number of people had assembled at the Khanaqah-e-Mualla for a march to Pulwama, but were broken up with force, the ensuing clashes spreading to other areas, and continuing intermittently throughout the day.

In upper Srinagar, heavy stone-pelting on vehicles was reported from the Iqbal Park area, even as groups of youth pelted stones at the forces in the Amira Kadal, Maharaj Bazaar, Goni Khan and Hari Singh High Street quarters. 

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