Toll 46; Pulwama youth beaten unconscious, admitted to SKIMS
Srinagar: A woman, Neelofar, who had been critically wounded when soldiers fired at a demonstration in Qazigund, Anantnag district, succumbed at SKIMS on Tuesday morning. Twenty-five-year-old Showkat Ahmad Itoo and 42-year-old woman Saida Begum, both residents of Churat village, had died in the firing on Tuesday. Neelofar’s eight-year-old son Aqib Ahmad and 11 other persons were injured in the shooting.
A doctor at SKIMS Soura said Neelofar died yesterday but due to information blockade enforced by the government, her family could not be informed.
The standoff that led to army firing occurred when army entered Khargund village of Anantnag district and beat-up and harassed several people, which triggered resentment among the residents of nearby villages, including Chukrat and Qazigund. Reports said the forces also smashed windowpanes of several residential houses in the area.
“After news of thrashing of locals and ransacking of residential structures spread to nearby villages, we came on streets and protested against harassment. But army crushed down our peaceful protest and fired indiscriminately on us,” a local told Kashmir Reader over phone.
A few minor clashes and protests were reported from the Qazigund and its adjoining villages on Tuesday despite strict curfew. Army has “regretted” the killings.
The post-Burhan-killing protests continued in many areas of south Kashmir. A youth sustained critical injuries after being thrashed by troopers in Litter area of Pulwama. The injured youth identified as Ajaz Ahmad Bhat was taken to sub-district hospital Bijbehara in an unconscious state. Doctors referred him to SKIMS.
In Srinagar, public address systems of mosques at several places including reverberated with pro-freedom songs throughout out the day. Minor clashes were reported from several areas in Srinagar where youths clashes with government forces and pelted stones on them.
In Khanabal area of Anantnag, youths attacked a CRPF vehicle. The troopers responded with aerial and pellet firing, injuring two youths.
Reports said more than 100 youths have been picked-up by police and lodged in different police stations in Srinagar to prevent people from holding protests in the summer capital.
Meanwhile, the e-curfew continues across the valley with mobile phone and internet services, except post-paid BSNL, continue to remain suspended. The blockade has, however, created immense hardships to the local masses.
Reach out to people, says Mehbooba
Calling for a collective effort to get the State back on course chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked the administration to reach out to the people to mitigate their sufferings.
“The Government is taking various measures to restore calm and it needs support of every section of the society to normalize the situation to end the miseries of the people,” she told officials at a high-level meeting of the Administrative Secretaries convened here today to review the situation on the governance front.
“The CM said besides loss of precious human lives and injuries to scores, the local economy, especially the tourism sector and education have taken a big hit because of the prevailing law and order situation and it is the responsibility of the every section of the society including the political leaders, media, the religious heads, the business community, the prominent citizens and especially the emancipated youth to rise to the occasion and help the government in restoring peace and normalcy in the Kashmir,” an official statement said.
(With inputs from Suhail Panjabi)