Srinagar: Paramilitary forces battling to quell pro-Azadi street protests in Kashmir shot dead five more people on Tuesday in Budgam and Anantnag districts while normal life remained paralysed for the 39th consecutive day due to curfew, restrictions and protest strike.
With the fresh deaths, the toll in the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley has now gone up to 70.
The first incident occurred at Aripanthan area where more than two dozen persons had suffered injuries two of them critically on Monday morning.
Narrating the incident, the locals said that the villagers hit to roads on Monday night when J&K Police backed by CRPF raided several houses. The residents however raised an alarm and beat back police who had come to arrest local youth during the nocturnal raid. Due to heavy protest the government forces retreated from the village, they said.
“On Tuesday morning, some people mostly youth ventured out from their houses to get newspapers from the local shops. Central Reserve Police Force personnel stationed at Magam Police Station along with a police party suddenly emerged in the area and targeted youth with tear-smoke shells. As youth tried to enter into the village, government forces followed them with lobbing tear-smoke shells while some of them barged into the houses, ransacking belongings and smashing windowpanes,” the locals alleged.
They added that shortly after the ‘unprovoked’ shelling from the government forces, the villagers mostly youth assembled and started protesting against the highhandedness of the government forces. “Some of the youth pelted stones on the forces, who retaliated with bullets and pellets killing a youth on the spot while leaving more than two dozen people including several women wounded.
The police action created chaos in the area. Some locals tried to shift critically injured to Magam Hospital, however police blocked the road and disallowed injured to be shifted to hospital, forcing people to return and admit them in Sub-District Hospital Beeru. However doctors there referred three of the critically wounded to Srinagar,” locals said.
“So far we have received four bodies in the village. Thousands of people from adjoining villages including Warihama, Rothsun, Makhama, Beerwah, Kandhama, Ohungam, Gamboora, Lolipora, Chedara arrived in the village and organized a massive anti-India protest,” CNS quoting residents reported.
The report identified the slain youth as Javaid Ahmed Sheikh (17) son of Ghulam Rasool, Manzoor Ahmed Lone (29) son of Muhammad Akram, Muhammad Ashraf Wani (32) son of Ghulam Muhammad, Javaid Ahmed Najar (16) son of Ghulam Rasool, all residents of Aripanthan Beeru.
They said that all the slain youth had received bullets above their chests. More than two dozen injured, including women according to eyewitnesses are being treated in different hospitals. Hospital sources said that two youth from the same Aripanthan village admitted in SKIMS are still critical. Sources identified them as Touqeer Ahmed Bhat (12) son of Muhammad Shafi and Farooq Ahmed Bhat (16) son of Sanaullah Bhat.
Refuting the claims made by residents, a police official said that protesters targeted a CRPF contingent that was passing through the road. “In a bid to stop youth from targeting them, CRPF retaliated resulting in the casualties,” he said. Another police statement said that CRPF personnel from 43 Battalion resorted to tear-gas shelling and firing after hundreds of youth targeted them with stones.
In the second incident from South Kashmir, a youth identified as Amir Ganie son of Muhammad Yusuf Ganie of Naidpora was killed when paramilitary forces opened fire at protesters at Larkipora Anantnag Tuesday afternoon.
According to Majid Mehrab, Medical Superindentent Anantnag hospital Amir was brought dead in the hospital. He said that youth had died due to bullet injury.
Reports said that the killing sparked widespread protests in Naidpora, Larkipora and its adjoining areas. Thousands of people carried out a pro-freedom procession in the area.
Locals said that before killing the youth at Larkipora the Army personnel from 19 RR created havoc in Dayalgam. They added that an Army patrol party appeared in Dayalgam area and ordered some youth to remove the Pakistani flags from the village. The Army men, according to locals, thrashed people and barged into the houses, sparking panic. The action of the army sparked protest forcing soldiers to flee from the village.
Residents alleged that the same patrol party later entered Larkipora village where they shot dead the youth. Reports said that agitated youth shortly after the death of Amir torched the house of a local Sajad Ahmed who is working for Territorial Army.
Clashes erupted in Kurhama and Borsu areas of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal District after Army soldiers allegedly ransacked houses and smashed windowpanes of residential houses.
Residents alleged that the Army didn’t even allow peaceful protests in the areas and barged into houses to terrorize the people.
They alleged that Badampora unit of Army entered into the village in scores of vehicles on Tuesday at 12:15 PM and left at 3:30 pm. The locals said that the irate army personnel not only smashed house hold items but also looted precious belonings.
At Kurhama, according to eyewitnesses, there was confrontation between police and Army after the former objected to use of force on the protesters by the later.
Reports said that several persons were injured during the clashes.
Srinagar based Defence spokesperson was not available for comments as his cell phone was switched off.
Pertinently, Kashmir is under curfew after the death of commander Burhan Wani on July 8 triggered a wave of protests. 70 people have died and thousands injured in clashes with government forces that began on July 9.
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