By Ishfaq Reshi
Chadoora: Three people were shot dead and several others injured by government forces in Zuin Chadoora on Tuesday.
The deceased people were protesting and throwing stones at the forces in a bid to help a militant, holed up inside a house, escape. The militant was killed when the forces blew up the house, which belongs to one Dr Shaheen, with explosives.
While the forces were laying siege to the village and zeroing in on the house, scores of local residents poured onto streets, shouted pro-freedom slogans and tried to run towards the house to help the militant escape.
But the forces fired teargas shells and resorted to baton charge to stop the protesters. A video shared widely on social media shows forces firing into the protesters directly. The forces also fired pellet ammunition.
Those who sustained bullet injuries and died en route to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar are Zahid Rasheed, 23, a resident of Chadoora; Aamir Fayaz Ganie, 22, resident of Wathura; Ishfaq Ahmad Wani, 23, a resident of Rangreth.
Seventeen of the more than 30 people who were injured during the clashes were referred to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar.
9 civilians killed this year
March 28: Three civilians, Zahid Rashid of Chadoora, Amir Fayaz of Wathora, and Ashfaq Ahmad of Rangreth were killed by the government forces after they opened fire on the civilians protesting against the siege laid down by them to trap the militants in Chadoora area of Budgam.
Mar 14: Kaneeza, 9, was killed in Kupwara; police said a ‘stray bullet’ hit her
Mar 9: 15-year-old Amir Nazir killed by the government forces at Padgampora in Pulwama
Feb 23: A woman was killed by a ‘stray bullet’ in an exchange of fire between militants and army
Feb 12: Govt forces kill 2 and injure 24 protesters who had come to the rescue of besieged militants in Kulgam
According to a list prepared by the SMHS Hospital authorities, 14 of the injured referred to the hospital had bullet or pellet injuries.
The list says Adil Bashir, Suhaib, Wasim Ahmad, Ilyas Ahmad, Amir, Abid had bullet injuries in left shoulder, right thigh, chest (right side), chest, chest and right hand respectively.
Those wounded due by pellet ammunition are Zahoor Ahmad (chest, abdomen); Bilal Ahmad Bhat (right eye); Irfan (right eye); Bilal Ahmad (right eye); Sahil (right leg); Farzan (left eye)
The list further says one Saqib has head injury due to teargas shell and Haadi ‘firearm wound’ in chin.
Dr Daler of sub-district hospital Chadoora said the exact number of the injured could not be ascertained as many of them have not provided their details and left hospital after first aid fearing police action.
Local residents said the forces targeted the protesters in their vital organs.
The gunfight ended at around 4 pm when the militant identified as Taufeeq Ahmad Khanday, a resident of Yaripora Kulgam, was killed.
Amir’s grand father Abdul Gani Ganaie suffered pellet injury in the head when forces fired pellet into group of people who were waiting to recieve Amir’s body.
Clashes continued for several hours after the gunfight in Chadoora and protesters that morphed into stone-throwing clashes erupted in Srinagar also.
A police team intercepted an ambulance carrying the body of Zahid Rasheed to his home at Hazuri Bagh. A video surfaced on Facebook in which a youth identifying himself as Zahid’s cousin and a man shouting ‘my nephew’ are seen struggling to prevent police from taking over the ambulance.
The person filming the video directs the cellphone towards a policeman who had snatched the key of the ambulance.
“This b####$@d has snatched the key,” the youth shouts amid cries and invectives by a woman who was possibly one of the relatives taking the body home.
Apparently unaware of why the vehicle has been stopped, the people and shopkeepers nearby first watched the unfolding episode but soon many shouted slogans. The police fired swiftly fired teargas to prevent protests.
Clashes also broke out in Nawab Bazar, Haba Kadal and Nawa Kadal localities later during the day while several shops and business establishment closed their business soon after the clashes erupted, according to eye-witnesses.