Srinagar: Government forces killed a teenager in the wee hours of Wednesday in Pulwama district of south Kashmir just hours before Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived here to review the prevailing situation. Hundreds of civilians are reported injured as pellets rained on them when the government forces fired shotguns to quell the unrest.
With the latest killing of a teenager, the death toll has mounted to 68. Over 600 have been injured in the clashes since July 8, post the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
According to the reports, a teenaged boy identified as Amir Bashir Mir, son of Ghulam Muhammad Mir of Ratnipora, succumbed minutes after he was received at SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
"Aamir Bashir, who had pellet injuries in his chest, was brought to SMHS Hospital here but the doctors declared him brought dead," a police official said.
Reports from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said that more than hundred people suffered pellet injuries after they resented the government action to vandalize the venue in Prichoo area where a rally was scheduled to be held.
Authorities, according to the reports, in a bid to foil pro-freedom rally at Pirchoo area in Pulwama vandalized the stage and tents while firing tear-smoke shells and pellets on protesters who had taken to streets to protest against the government forces action during the dead of the night.
Army personnel from 55 RR, CRPF 83 Battalion and local police, according to witnesses, occupied the venue in the middle of the night while people in large numbers took to roads and clashed with them.
Reports said that more than hundred people were injured while some of them received pellet injuries. Ironically, none of the injured visited government hospital, a move according to locals to evade arrest.
The fresh killing sparked violent protests in Ratnipora and other adjacent villages of the district.
Locals added that government forces randomly arrested youth from different hamlets of the district including Gangoo and Pinglina areas. The intense clashes in the district forced authorities to impose strict curfew in the district. However, according to reports people defied curfew and marched towards Pirchoo while government forces continuously used tear-smoke shells and pellets to keep people at bay. The situation in the district remained tense while clashes between protesters and government forces continued for hours.
The locals accused government of fomenting trouble. “We had decided to organize a peaceful rally but government forces compelled us to resort to violence. Today’s action in Pulwama depicts the frustration of Mehbooba Mufti government,” said a fruit grower.
At least 72 people including 70 civilians and two policemen have died in the violence in the valley since July 8, a day after popular Hizbul Mujhadeen Commander Burhan Wani was killed by the government forces in a gunfight.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association condemned the killing of Mir, and the thrashing of people in Shopian, Noorbagh, Bandipora, Pulwama and many parts of the valley by the “ruthless forces”. The association also condemned the mob attack on a Kashmiri trucker in Jammu, whose vehicle was set on fire.
The association, in a statement, asked Amnesty International and other human rights organisations to intervene and send teams to Kashmir to evaluate the ground circumstances, holding that the Indian government tried is misleading people by claiming that only a fraction of the Valley demands freedom.
Forces Thrash Bikers, Trigger Protests
Clashes erupted in Waniyar Safakadal area of Srinagar city after government forces thrashed three motorcycle-borne youth near Sakidafar while one of them received serious injuries and was shifted to SMHS hospital after he was hit on the head. As the news spread, people took to streets and staged massive protests against the forces. To disperse the protesters, forces burst several teargas shells.
Out of three, two wounded youth have been identified as Muhammad Shafi son of Muhammad Sultan a resident of Rajpora Sopore and Abdul Rashid Reshi son of Ghulam Muhammad a resident of Boami Sopore.
Meanwhile, the residents of Batamaloo alleged that forces resorted to aerial firing and thrashed people without any provocation.
Eyewitnesses said that government forces appeared at 7 am at Batamaloo bus stand and resorted to beating of people who went out to buy milk and veggies.
"I was out to buy bread and suddenly a large of posse of forces appeared from bus stand. They thrashed everyone, including women and children, who came their way. They fired several aerial shots also," a resident of the locality said. He said the firing created panic and fear among the inhabitants."It was unprovoked. People were out just to buy eatables. There were no protests," he said.
A massive protest was organized by locals in Natipora Srinagar against the civilian killings and random arrest of youth. Scores of youth hit to roads and amid anti-India slogans held a massive protest in the area.
Protest March Fired Upon At Kawoosa
At least 30 people were injured after government forces tried to break up a protest march in Kawoosa village of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
A large number of people reportedly tried to take out a pro-freedom rally that was dispersed by government forces who fired pellets and tear-smoke shells. The headman of the village Abdul Gafar said that more than 30 people were injured while four wounded youth were shifted to SMHS hospital Srinagar. “The government forces also seized a parked tractor,” he said and alleged that forces ransacked houses and beat up everyone who came to their way. The Headman added that a youth Muntazir Ahemd Sheikh son of Mansoor Ahmed received a bullet in his leg and was later on shifted to Srinagar hospital.
Geelani Holds Tele Address
A huge pro-freedom rally was held at Verinag Anantnag that was attended by thousands of people and was addressed by Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani. Geelani in his 9-minute long telephonic address said, “if India sincerely wants a permanent solution to Kashmir dispute, United Nations Security Council resolutions must be implemented.” Lashing out at authorities for “bringing more and more forces”, Geelani said, “India has been able to occupy J&K only due to its military might and it has again sent 2600 BSF personnel to Kashmir to further its occupation.”
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.