Protersters try to storm airbase; Monday count: 8 more dead, 1,365 injured
Srinagar: The bloodbath unleashed by government forces to quell mass uprising following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s divisional commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani continued in Kashmir Valley for the third consecutive day on Monday. Eight more people died: six wounded persons succumbing to their injuries at hospitals in Srinagar, and two others shot dead in fresh incidents of firing at protesters by government forces. The death toll has risen to 31, even as hundreds of wounded persons are battling for life in many hospitals, especially in the three largest government hospitals in Srinagar.
The Valley remained on edge in several areas of south Kashmir where fierce clashes were witnessed between government forces and agitating locals. As many as 16 persons were wounded at Tral after government forces opened fire. Three of the wounded were shifted to Srinagar while others were admitted to nearby hospitals. The protestors attempted to attack a CRPF camp at Ladiyar village, 5 kilometers from Tral town.
In Islamabad, government forces fired upon protesters in Bijbehara town of Anantnag where two persons sustained bullet injuries. One among the duo received a bullet in his abdomen and was being operated upon at SMHS hospital in Srinagar. Hundreds of youngsters staged anti-India demonstrations in Bijbehara town where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s ancestral house is located.
In Shopian district, two mourners were injured when government forces opened fire at Zainapora village in the south Kashmir district. The mourners were returning from the funeral of a 13- year-old who was killed by the forces on Sunday evening. The 13-year-old boy was returning home late in the evening when he was chased by government forces and fired upon into his chest. He died instantly. Massive protests were held in the locality on Monday against the brutal killing.
In Sopore, a police post situated in the fruit market was set ablaze by protesters. Defying restrictions, massive protests erupted in the town with people shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
The Indian Air Force base in Awantipora was attacked by a group of angry youngsters. Government forces retaliated with tear gas shelling and fired pellet guns. Reports said that people also clashed with government forces in Pulwama and Shopian areas. A police post located at Litter village was set ablaze while a post of anti-insurgency police located at SIDCO building Lassipora was burned down. Reports said that protesters torched a munsif court building at Dooru in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Sources said that government forces used excessive force to disperse protesters at Trehgam village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Unidentified persons hurled a grenade towards a CRPF party at Nowhatta in old Srinagar. Around a dozen CRPF personnel were wounded in the late evening attack.
Hundreds of youth clashed with police and government forces at several areas in capital Srinagar, including in Batamaloo, Saidapora, Soura, Chattabal and Karan Nagar. More than 20 youths were injured in the violent incidents.
Sources said that fierce clashes erupted in Palpora area near Noorbagh locality of old Srinagar between agitating youth and government forces. The clashes continued for several hours resulting in injuries to six youngsters, including a 10-year-old boy. Two of the critically wounded persons were shifted to SMHS for treatment.
A police spokesman said that incidents of stone pelting were reported from Warpora, Langate, Kralgund, Hajin, Kaloosa, Prichoo, Sheeri, Khanpora, Preng, Koil, Fruitmandi Sopore, Popchan, Hyderpora, Baghat Barzulla, Tengpora, Rambagh, Cement Bridge Baramulla, Tahab, Yaripora, Sangam, Bijbehara, Trehgam, Kralpora, Villgam, Shopian, Imamsahib and Gagran.
“Unruly mobs set on fire the police post at Fruit Mandi Sopore and also the police post at Litter. A number of police establishments were attacked by hooligans. The police and paramilitary personnel deployed exhibited maximum restraint while dealing with the situation,” a police spokesman said.
Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Asgar Samoon said that 1,365 persons were injured in clashes across the Valley of which 279 have been referred to Srinagar hospitals for intensive treatment.
He said 22 people were killed in the protests. Several people have received life-threatening injuries.
Though government spokesman Naeem Akhtar announced that patients requiring advanced treatment would be airlifted outside the state, no patient has been provided the facility so far.
Mobile telephony continued to remain suspended in four districts of south Kashmir while mobile internet remained shut down across the Valley.
Sources said that restrictions on mobile phones and internet will remain in place on Tuesday. Most of the separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, have been either detained or put under house arrest. Police authorities have not revealed the number of persons who have been detained across the Valley. Unofficial sources said that around 200 persons have been taken into custody.
A doctor’s short diary
The number of casualties received on the first day after the killing of Burhan Wani is the highest since the armed insurgency broke out in the Valley. I have entered this medical college-hospital complex in 1991. I haven’t seen anything like this.
The sight of the injured, and the dead, lying unattended on beds and the floor, either because their kin had no idea of what befell them or because the friends and people who brought them here had left for fear of the omnipresent policemen and CID personnel. The sight would crush even a soul made of steel.
You ask why they attacked ambulances. An ambulance was the only source of news from the places where THEY created mayhem. That is why. People told me that they would bring down the attendants of the bullet-hit people and take them to nearest camps or police stations.
A colleague told me that he conducted eye surgeries on about two dozen youngsters. None of them will retain eyesight even if they manage to access some of the most advanced institutions. He said that families of many of these youngsters will sell their only possessions, the land, to take them outside the state for treatment. He said he wanted to tell these families ‘don’t waste your money, there is no hope’ but couldn’t come to saying it. In fact, he wanted them to do it if only to indulge their bruised minds and hearts in something that carries hope.