Cop critical, 15 civilians injured during fresh protests; funeral prayers held for Burhan
SRINAGAR: Amid strict curfew in all ten districts of the Kashmir valley, and a blockade of mobile and internet services, people took out protests and collectively prayed for all the people killed and injured by government forces, including Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, on Friday.
Two persons were killed by government forces on Friday — Mushtaq Ahmed, resident of Kupwara, and Sayar Ahmad Kumar, resident of Chitragam, Shopian. A third casualty in the day was of Hilal Ahmad Parray of Tengpora, Srinagar, who succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS hospital. The civilian death toll in the Valley since Friday evening has now gone up to 43.
Mushtaq Ahmed was shot dead by government forces during a protest demonstration that was taken out in Kupwara after Friday prayers. Sayar Ahmad was killed in police firing after a grenade was lobbed at police station Yaripora by militants. However, police said Sayar was killed by militants. Six other cops were injured in the grenade explosion. Hilal, according to locals, succumbed to injuries at SKIMS after he was beaten by forces a few days ago.
Fifteen civilians among those injured in protests on Friday have been identified so far. Four of these have been admitted to SHMS hospital. Five have been injured in police firing at Yaripora, four by pellets at Sopore, and two each from Baramulla and Pattan areas in firing by forces. The number of the injured has reached 1,700.
In Srinagar, youth at Parimpora mandi set ablaze a private vehicle of a police SPO who is attached to the SP headquarters. Protest marches were also taken out from Shivpora, Zampa Kadal, Natipora and downtown areas. In Bemina, youth pelted government forces with stones. At many places, in-absentia funeral prayers were offered for killed civilians and militants.
No Friday prayers were held at Jamia Masjid Srinagar as state authorities kept the gates of the historic mosque locked.
In south Kashmir, tourist destination Pahalgam was also under strict curfew. Thousands of people defied the curfew to take out protest marches and offered in-absentia funeral prayers at many places, including at the Tral Eidgah.
Despite the government forces blocking roads by erecting tin sheets, protests broke out in Nagbal Imam Sahib, Trichoo Pulwama, and Bonigam of Shopian district.
In Kulgam district, CRPF men broke window panes of residential houses and used brutal force and tear gas shells to quell protesters, injuring more than 10 persons. There are also reports that protesters damaged the Tehsil office and Panchayat Ghar in Yaripora Kulgam.
In all three districts of north Kashmir, protests were reported throughout the day. At Bandipora, protests erupted in Hajin, Sumbal, Naid Khai, Ajas, and Baharabad. In Tregham, people from Kunan-Poshpora took out a protest demonstration. In Sopore, people came out on streets to hold protests.
On the Jammu-Srinagar highway, nearly 500 trucks were stranded. The drivers’ association of Jammu has stopped its trucks at Jammu after some of its trucks were attacked on the highway.
Mobile networks were suspended since Thursday evening in the Valley. Mobile internet is also not working anywhere in the valley since Friday last week.
In a handout issued to the press, the police said that the overall situation in the valley remained under control.
“At many places the militants took shelter of protesters and attacked police and CRPF personnel deployed for law and order duties. In one such incident at Yaripora Kulgam, the militants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately on police party which was dealing with violent protesters,” the police handout said, mentioning that seven police personnel and three civilians received gunshot and splinter injuries.
“One civilian died of militant firing. The police party exercised maximum restraint and did not retaliate to avoid civilian causalities. The seven injured policemen have been hospitalised among whom one Constable Mudasir Ahmed Shah is critical,” the police said.
In another such incident, police said, militants lobbed grenades on police and CRPF party which were dealing with “violent protesters at Natnusa, Kupwara.”
“Seven security personnel received splinter injuries and have been hospitilised. In another incident, militants fired on police personnel of police station Lolab, resulting in injuries to two policemen,” the police said.
(with inputs from Bilal Habib)