- Kokernag youth succumbs to injuries
- Many injured in clashes
- Curfew continues for 14th day; Friday prayers disallowed at Jamia, other main mosques
- Ramban observes bandh in solidarity with Kashmiris
Life remained paralysed in the Kashmir Valley as curfew, restrictions and separatists called shutdown continued for the 15th day on Saturday.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to begin his two-day trip to Kashmir on Saturday, marking his second visit this month to the conflict-ridden region.
He first visited on July 2 after eight CRPF troopers were killed by militants in Pampore area of Pulwama district. Singh had also performed the Amarnath Yatra.
Singh is scheduled to meet official and public delegations later in the day in an effort to end the impasse brought about in the Valley since July 9, a day after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed along two of its associates in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Official sources said Singh will also visit some areas in south Kashmir affected by the ongoing violence which has claimed 50 lives — 48 civilians and two policemen — so far.
Officials said strict curfew will continue in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts while restrictions will remain in force in the rest of the Valley.
A youth was killed in fresh police firing in Awantipora in South Kashmir on Friday while a youth, who was injured in forces action last week, succumbed to injuries in a hospital here, taking the death toll of people killed in ongoing unrest in the Valley triggered by killing of 21-year-ol Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani to 50.
The authorities enforced the curfew for the 14th consecutive day today and due to security restrictions, cops did not allow Friday prayers in historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar and other mosques and shrines in the Valley.
The clashes broke out between youth and police and CRPF men at Charsoo, Awantipora this afternoon. During the clashes, cops fired pellets and bullets towards the protestors, who were protesting against the civilian killings by the force personnel.
In the forces action, a youth identified as Mushtaq Ahmed Bhat son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat of Charsoo, Awantipora sustained critical injuries and died while being shifted to the hospital.
A police spokesman while confirming the incident said Mushtaq was hit by a teargas shell and got seriously injured. He later succumbed to injuries.
Another youth identified as Ishtiyaq Ahmad of Kokernag, who had received bullet injury in his chest in police firing in Hiller, Kokernag on July 10 and was admitted in SKIMS Soura, succumbed to injuries this morning.
His body was taken to his village, where hundreds of people attended his funeral prayers amidst chanting of pro-freedom, pro-Islamic and anti-India slogans.
With two death’s today, the death toll of people killed in ongoing unrest in the Valley has risen to 50. About 3000 civilians have also been injured in the forces action. Of the 3000 civilians injured in security forces action, 1523 civilians have been hit by pellets and 340 hit by bullets.
The clashes have been triggered by the killing of 21-year-old Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
The clashes also broke out today in Kakapora area of Pulwama after the Friday prayers. The police and CRPF men fired live ammunition and pellets on the protestors, who were pelting stones on them. At least six people sustained injuries in the forces action. One of the youth identified as Asif Reshi sustained critical injuries and was rushed to SMHS hospital for specialized treatment.
The youth and cops also clashed in Tral town of Pulwama district. During the clashes, cops fired pellets on the protestors. At least five people sustained pellet injuries and one of them was shifted to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment.
The clashes were also reported from across Kulgam town, including Bogund, Bugam, Main town, Khodweni, Qaimoh and other areas.
In Anantnag, clashes took place in Dooru, Verinag, Kokernag, Qazigund and many other areas. The clashes were also reported from Pahnoo, Shopian
Massive clashes were also reported from areas Kokernag, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Sumbal- Sonawai, Sopore, Pattan, Bandipora, Kaloosa, parts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Uri town.
About 24 persons have received injuries in police and CRPF action during protests in the valley today.
Official sources said 18 among them were shifted to SMHS hospital while six were rushed to district hospitals.
Due to communication breakdown, actual number of people injured in forces action today could not be ascertained.
In Srinagar, a group of women took out a peaceful protest in Pirbagh area and waved black flags. Chanting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, they marched on streets and later dispersed peacefully.
The authorities for the 14th consecutive day today enforced curfew in the Valley. Thousands of police and CRPF men were deployed across the Valley to enforce restrictions and prevent public movement.
Due to tough security restrictions, the cops did not allow people to offer Friday prayers in historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. There were also reports that Friday prayers were disallowed by the cops in mosques in other major towns of the Valley.
It was for the second consecutive week that Friday prayers were disallowed in Jamia and other mosques and shrines in the Valley.
All shops, business establishments, banks and petrol pumps remained closed for 14th consecutive day today on the call of the separatists. The public transport was also off the roads.
Mobile phones and mobile internet services remained suspended in the Valley. However, only BSNL Broadband and post-paid services are being allowed to operate. Train services also remained suspended for 14th day today.
Top Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Nayeem Khan and others are either under house arrest or detention. The separatists have extended the strike call up to July 25.
Meanwhile, Muslims in Ramban district observed bandh at various places today to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir, where 50 people have been killed in police and paramilitary forces firing in last 14 days.
Reports said the bandh was complete in Banihal town and its outskirts where traders kept their shutters down and local traffic remained off the roads during the day. In view of the bandh, attendance in many state government offices was thin.
At Gool, Sangaldan too bandh was near total with Muslims taking out processions in protest over civilian killings at the hands of forces.
At Ramban and Batote, only Muslims kept their shutters down.
A police spokesman said incidents of stone pelting were reported from various parts of the valley after Friday prayers. “The youth took to the streets and pelted stones on police and forces deployed to maintain peace and order”.
He said such incidents were reported from Sopore, Ruhama, Panzla and Tarzoo in district Baramulla, Khumriyal, Natnusa and Kralgund in district Kupwara, Prechoo, Tahab, Kakpora and Chursoo in district Pulwama, Imam Sahib in district Shopian, Manigam and Ganderbal town in district Ganderbal.
“Despite the provocations at various places across the valley, deployments exercised restraint,” the spokesman said.
“Parents are requested not to allow their wards to become part of the mobs of miscreants,” he added.