Kashmir On Edge As Friday Arrives

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SRINAGAR: There was an uneasy calm in Kashmir valley on the eve of Friday and people were bracing for the day of special weekly prayers, the first after killing of some 41 protesters in the aftermath of the killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on this day 7 days back.

On Thursday another youth died in a Srinagar hospital of his injuries taking the toll to 40, inflaming further passions. 

Thursday also completed a week of confinement of entire Valley population indoors with city and towns, even interior areas presenting the look of ghost towns.

Hospital sources said that Irfan Maqsood Dar son of Maqsood Ahmad Dar a resident of Tuli Nowpora of Bugund in Kulgam district died at SKIMS Srinagar. His death has taken the death toll of protesters to 39. 

In South Kashmir’s Kulgam district the death of a teenager sparked violent protests while agitated protesters targeted Watalhama security camp. 

According to residents, forces personnel had mercilessly thrashed two brothers Irfan Ahmed and Faizan Ahmed Dar residents of Toolinopora Kulgam few days back. Both the brothers were shifted to SKIMS with grievous injuries. The elder brother Irfan Ahmed succumbed to his injuries today. As the news reached his native village violent protests rocked the area. 

Locals alleged that forces personnel stationed in Watalhama camp are responsible for the four deaths in the district. 

The agitated people attacked the said camp with stones, while forces retaliated with tear-smoke shells and pellets. Eyewitnesses said that paramilitary forces resorted to intense aerial firing creating panic in the area.

The mother of the slain youth, according to eyewitnesses fainted and was shifted to hospital after she heard the news about the death of her son. The situation was tense in the area.

Meanwhile normal life remained paralysed across Kashmir Valley due to a curfew and shutdown confining some eight million people to their homes for the sixth consecutive day with markets shut and essential commodities running out.

Reports said despite stringent security arrangements, clashes erupted between groups of youth and Govt forces at multiple places in the Valley.

The severe clashes were reported from Palhallan, Tappar Pattan, Bandipore town, Regipora, Trehgam, Lalpora, Kralpora, Tikipora and other areas of Kupwara district in North Kashmir. 

At least three youth suffered pellet injuries at Tappar Pattan and were shifted to Srinagar for treatment. Reports said that at Kralpora Kupwara shortly after the clashes, CRPF men caused damage to BSNL Exchange building.

Govt forces used force and a youth, identified as Omar Zargar sustained critical injuries at Batargam Kupwara while in a similar action another person was injured at Narbal near Srinagar. 

Residents alleged that government forces thrashed passersby after which large number of people took to streets chanting pro-Azadi slogans. The angry protesters attacked CRPF personnel with stones while according to eyewitnesses CRPF retaliated with tear-smoke shelling and pellets causing injuries to at least 7 persons, including a woman and a child. 

One person `with pellet injuries `whom locals identified as Noor Muhamad Ningli `was shifted to SKIMS for treatment.

In the capital Srinagar, police used drone cameras around deserted city centre Lal Chowk to carry out the surveillance of the area. 

Stone-pelting incidents were reported from Chanapora and Kathi Darwaza in Srinagar city where police used tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

A police handout issued late evening said that the overall situation throughout the valley remained under control today though some incidents of stone pelting were reported.

Amid unrest SOG of police launched raids at a number of places and detained six youth. Sources said four youth were picked up from Chadoora while two were held at Baramulla. The youth held at Baramulla were identified as Nisar Fafoo of Khwaja Bagh and Obaid Sheikh of Syed Kareem Old Town.

Meanwhile A mob today torched house of Farooq Wani where Burhan and his associates were killed in Bemdoora village in Kokernag area of Anantnag district. On Wednesday, the house of an SOG man was torched at Kulgam by people.

Sources said curfew will be strictly enforced on Friday as authorities apprehend mass protests. ”Tomorrow’s day is crucial for us and the forces will ensure no major incident of violence takes place. The curfew would be strictly enforced,” he said.

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