Day-11: Woman among 2 protesters killed in Qazigund, Toll surges to 47

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Soldiers from army’s 9 RR opened fire on a group of protesters in highway township of Qazigund this evening, leaving two civilians, including a woman dead.

According to the reports, army’s counterinsurgent force opened fire on protesters who were squating on the road and killed two civilians while leaving around at least seven others critically injured.

“The deceased have been identified as 25 year old Showkat Ahmad and Syeda (45),” police sources said.

The fresh killings took the death toll in ongoing protests to 47.

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Day-11: China calls for proper settlement of Kashmir clashes
China on Monday called for proper settlement of clashes in Kashmir which have left more than 40 people dead. Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was concerned about the casualties due to violence in Kashmir which began on 9 July, a day after a top militant was killed by security forces, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Day 11: Kashmir Rocks Indian Parliament

The Congress Party on Monday lashed out at the Centre for treating civilians like militants and asked the ruling dispensation not to rule the Kashmir Valley at gunpoint.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament got off to a stormy start over unrest in Kashmir with Congress accusing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of failing to win the trust of the people. 

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who initiated the debate, said that he was deeply hurt with the present state of affairs in Kashmir.

Azad said while his party stands with the Modi government and the coalition in the state in dealing firmly with militancy, the “excessive use” of force against the common citizens, including children and women, is not acceptable.

“We haven’t learnt our lesson in Kashmir. We are with the government in ending militancy, but we can’t support this treatment of civilians. Can civilians be treated like militants? The Kashmiris don’t trust the government of India, the Centre can’t rule Kashmir at gunpoint,” Azad told the Rajya Sabha.

Should same bullets that are used on militants be used on the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir? Should the militants and common man be treated alike,” he added.

For the current unrest, he blamed a number of reasons including BJP’s participation in government with PDP in the state, provocative statements made by some leaders of BJP and RSS besides Pakistan, “whose existence is the root cause of all problems.”

He underlined that Kashmir cannot be ruled “through the barrel of the gun or bullets” and demanded that responsibility be fixed for “excessive use” of force. He also demanded all-party meeting on the issue.

Opposition also pressed for holding an all-party meet to discuss the issue and pitched for a political solution rather than using “barrel of the gun” while dealing with the unrest.

Leader of House Arun Jaitley admitted that the situation in Kashmir was “serious and a matter of concern” but rejected the contention that the violence in the valley was a result of the BJP getting into power at the state.

Asserting that efforts are underway to restore normalcy at the earliest, he said the entire country should speak in one voice at this time and common man should not be made to suffer there.

 Asking the youth to stay away from the agitation which was triggered by the killing of a militant commander, he said, “When thousands of people attack the police, then understandably, there will be action. The fight is between the country and the separatists and common people standing with the country is in national interest.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) have strongly condemned the ongoing media crackdown by the state in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

In a statement here an IFJ spokesperson said, “The IFJ expresses its solidarity with journalists of Kashmir and urges the Indian authorities to immediately stop the crackdown on press freedom and allow the free flow of information.”

Continuing with its protest calendar, the Hurriyat camp Monday extended the ongoing strike, protest call till Friday.

In a joint statement issued by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, the leaders said that the protest programme will continue on July 19.

“Amid a complete shutdown,” the statement said, “a ‘Black Day’ would be observed on July 20.”

“On July 21, there would be shutdown till 2pm and on July 22 (Friday) there will again be a complete shutdown and peaceful protests after prayers.”

The Hurriyat leaders appealed people to hold peaceful protests in mosques after Magrib prayers on all days.

A 25-year-old man from South Kashmir was detained for questioning after he held out in public a placard with ‘I want justice’ written on it in west Delhi, police said on Sunday. Amir Amin, a resident of Shopian district was detained from near the Sector 9 bus stand in Dwarka area.

Hundreds of Kashmiri Americans and friends of Kashmir staged a peaceful protest in front of the Indian Mission to the United Nations to express their anguish against the killing of  more than 4o innocent civilians in Kashmir and wounding more than 2500.

“India Stop Genocide in Kashmir”, “Freedom for all: Freedom for Kashmir”, “Kashmiri Lives Matter,” “Time to resolve the Kashmir dispute is now”, “We Want Freedom From India”, Wake Up, Wake Up—UN Wake Up”, “Kashmir: Nuclear Flashpoint”  were some of the placards the protesters were holding.

PDP MLA Muhammad Khalil Bandh was on Monday injured in a mob attack while he was on his way to Srinagar. 

Bandh, an MLA from Pulwama, was injured when his vehicle overturned while trying to avoid the attack on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway.  The Pulwama lawmaker, Bandh, according to reports was heading towards Srinagar in the dead of night at around 1 AM when a crowd tried to stop him.  As the driver tried to speed away, the vehicle flipped over, leaving the politician seriously injured.  He has been shifted to Army base hospital Badamibagh. One report said people present threw stones at his car forcing him to escape from the spot.

Normal life remained paralysed for the 11th consecutive day in the valley follwing the protests in the wake of killing of Hizbul militant commander Burhan Wani by Govt forces on July 8.

For the third day running newspapers did not hit stands following unwritten Govt order asking newspaper owners not to publish newspapers till July 19.

All job interviews by the state Public Service Commission (PSC) have also been postponed.

Strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remains shut. All supplies of essentials of life are routed into Kashmir valley through this lone motorable highway as all other routes to outside world are already blocked since 1947.

Train services between Baramulla town in the valley and Bannihal town in the Jammu region also remained suspended for the 11th day on Monday.

Hurriyat leaders continue to remain under house arrest and preventive detention in summer capital Srinagar.

The Centre on Sunday rushed another 20 companies of paramilitary forces to quell the unrest.

 

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