Baramulla: Thousands of people on Wednesday defied restrictions in several parts of Kupwara district to protest against the killing of three persons, including a woman, by government forces. During the funeral procession of one of the slain youths, forces fired tear gas shells which fatally hit another youngster, and triggered more protests.
In Langate area, the situation turned tense when body of 50-year-old woman Raja Begum reached her home. Begum was hit by a stray bullet while attending her fields around two km away from Handwara town where government forces opened indiscriminate fire to quell a protest against army soldiers over allegations of molesting a local school girl.
Thousands of people from many areas, shouting anti-India slogans, took part in Begum’s funeral prayers.
While protests were on in Langate and Handwara, police used batons and fired tear gas shells to disperse a protesting mob at Drugmulla. A shell hit a protester, Jahangir Ahmad Wani (25) son of Gulam din Wani of Drugmulla Kupwara. People immediately shifted the youngster to hospital, where he died. Chief medical officer (CMO) Kupwara Dr Gulam Nabi Lone told Kashmir Reader that Wani breathed his last in the hospital due to a deep wound in his head. He said the hospital received several wounded persons, but they were discharged after first aid.
The situation continued to be tense in Handwara town for the second consecutive day as the authorities imposed strict restrictions in the town. All roads leading to the town were blocked with concertina wire and hundreds of police and paramilitary men were manning the streets.
Trouble started in the town on Tuesday afternoon when government forces opened fire on a group of people protesting the alleged molestation of a girl. The class XII student of higher secondary school Handwara entered a public toilet alongside the army bunker in the main market and a trooper of 21RR allegedly tried to molest her. The protesters gathered around the bunker and tried to drag the trooper towards the police station. Other army personnel posted in the bunker headed by a Major-rank ‘Town Commander’ then fired at the people.
Mohammad Iqbal Peer (20) son of Farooq Ahmad Peer of Shalpora Kupwara died on the spot while another injured identified as Nayeem Ahmad Bhat (21) son of Gulam Qadir Bhat of Herpora Handwara succumbed in sub-district hospital Handwara.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nayeem was buried in the martyrs’ graveyard Handwara. Later, a team of officials headed by Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Kumar Raju Ranjan, visited the deceased youth’s home and assured the family of help to investigate the incident.