Another succumbs at SKIMS, death toll 49; troops open fire on protesters across Kashmir; 17 injured at Charsoo brought to SMHS, 3 critical; 22-yr-old shot in the head at Kakapora ‘very critical’
Srinagar: In a fresh killing, government forces shot dead with pellets an 18-year-old in Charsoo area of Awantipora town in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The youth was hit by “a hail of pellets” in his abdomen and has been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat of Charsoo, Pulwama.
Reports said that troops fired on a protest march that was taken out after Friday prayers in Charsoo. Principal of Government Medical College Srinagar, Dr Kaiser Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the slain youth “was brought dead to the hospital. He was hit by a hail of pellets in his abdomen.”
Police claimed that Mushtaq Ahmad died of an injury to his head from a teargas shell.
Dr Ahmad said that 17 fresh injured were admitted to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital, most of them with pellet and bullet injuries, on Friday. He said that three of these youths were in critical condition.
The killing in Charsoo triggered intense clashes in the area. As soon as the body of Mushtaq reached his village, local youth began pelting the forces with stones. The forces responded by heavy teargas and pellet gun firing.
Earlier in the day, a 25-year old youth who was injured on the day after Burhan Wani was killed, succumbed at SKIMS to his injuries. The youth has been identified as Ishtiyaq Ahmad of Kokernag in Anantnag distinct.
Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Farooq Jan said that the youth was admitted on July 9 with bullet injuries in his chest that had damaged the lungs. “He was on ventilator at the ICU of the hospital. He succumbed today morning (Friday),” Jan said.
In view of the shutdown and protest call given jointly by the pro-freedom leaders in Kashmir, heavy clashes erupted across the Valley as soon as Friday congregational prayers were over. Reports said that dozens of people sustained injuries in south Kashmir areas and have been admitted to different hospitals in Kashmir.
At least ten people are reported to have sustained injuries in Kakapora area of Pulwama, one of whom is critical. The injuries were sustained when forces fired upon a procession of people who were protesting against the killings of Kashmiris.
“We were holding a peaceful procession at our village but forces intercepted our march. It triggered intense clashes in the area,” a participant in the procession and among those injured in Kakapora, told Kashmir Reader.
A 22-year old youth identified as Asif Ahmad Reshi who was shot in the head by forces in Kakapora is said to be in critical condition. Officials at the hospital said that the youth has been operated on and his condition is “very critical”.
Dozens of people are reported to have been injured after a protest march from Samboora to Kakapora was intercepted by forces. Reports said that forces fired upon the gathering which was protesting the firing incident in which Mushtaq Ahmad was injured.
Reports said that two persons were critically injured in pellet firing in Srigufwara town of Anantnag district. The injured were identified as Shakir Ahmad of Poshkeeri and Yunus Ahmad Shah. Both have sustained pellet injuries in their eyes and have been brought to SMHS from district hospital Anantnag.
Clashes also erupted in several areas of Srinagar, where youth carrying green flags and pro-freedom posters hurled stones on the government troopers. The troopers retaliated with heavy teargas, pellet and bullet firing in which several youths received minor to major injuries. A youth from Karan Nagar (name withheld) received a bullet in his left arm and is currently undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital.
Fierce clashes also erupted in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, where people in large numbers gathered at the main chowk with posters of Burhan Wani and Pakistani flags in their hands. The crowd marched from Jamia Masjid Bandipora to Nowpora chowk and assembled near the main chowk where the gathering was joined by smaller processions from Nusoo, Papchan, Ajar and other places. The protesters raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans and later marched towards the ‘Martyrs’ Graveyard’. Reports said that at Nishat Park, protesters burnt the effigy of Rajnath Singh, home minister of India. People from Gurez also joined the protesters and “affirmed that the people of Gurez Valley are with Kashmir’s struggle.”
When this gathering started to disperse peacefully, the forces deployed in the area chased them and fired several rounds of teargas shells and bullets. The “high-handedness” of the forces in various places in Bandipora district was also reported.
Reports said that protest rallies were taken out in Naidkhai, Asham, Sumbal, Baharbad, Saderkoot and adjoining areas of Bandipora district.
Protesters targeted an army school in Hajin, with forces resorting to heavy teargas and pellet gun firing to disperse the protesters. Four youths received injuries and were admitted to the local hospital. Clashes were still going on when this report was filed.
At least seven persons are reported to have been injured in Burhan’s hometown Tral, where forces fired bullets, pellets and teargas shells to disperse protesters.
In Beerwah area of Budgam, protests were held after Friday payers and stone-pelting took place in Wussan area of Kunzar after one person, Zahoor Ahamd Bhat, was detained by police. Locals said that Zahoor was picked up by police and soon people from the area tried to approach Kunzar police station for his release. A contingent of CRPF and police stationed at Wussan chowk did not allow them to move further, triggering stone-pelting in the area.
Meanwhile, in view of Rajnath Singh’s visit, government forces carried checks on vehicles plying on the roads and imposed strict restriction on movement of people across Kashmir.
Clashes also erupted in Sopore town of Baramulla where the Sopore Coordination Committee had asked all the people in Sopore to assemble and offer Friday prayers in the Jamia Masjid. The people later led a protest march which triggered clashes in the area. Reports said that dozens of people sustained minor to major injuries after forces resorted to heavy firing.
Phone and internet services, except post-paid BSNL, continue to remain suspended across Kashmir.
A police handout on Friday said that incidents of stone-pelting were reported from various parts of the valley, mainly after the Friday prayers.
“The miscreants took to streets and pelted stones on police and security forces in Sopore, Ruhama, Panzla and Tarzoo in district Baramulla; Khumriyal, Natnusa and Kralgund in district Kupwara; Prechoo, Tahab, Kakpora and Chursoo in district Pulwama; Imam Sahib in district Shopian; Manigam and Ganderbal town in district Ganderbal. Despite grave provocations at various places across the valley particularly after the Friday prayers, deployments exercised restraint,” the statement said.
“At Chursoo Pulwama, one Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, son of Bashir Ahmad, resident of Chursoo, was hit by a teargas shell and got seriously injured. He later on succumbed to his injuries,” the police said.
“The parents are requested not to allow their wards to become part of the mobs of miscreants,” the statement said.
(With inputs from Bilal Habib, Owais Farooqi, Asim Shah and Gowhar Maqbool)