Violence continued to rock the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday, with five more civilians getting killed and scores injured in firing by the police and the CRPF to quell demonstrations. Thousands of people defied curfew and took to the streets, challenging the security forces. The Army was deployed to protect the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, which was blocked by protesters in the past few days.
Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, who was injured in police firing in Khrew two days ago, died of his injuries in hospital on Tuesday.
Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Meraj Kakroo told TheHindu, “We are enforcing curfew in letter and spirit.”
With curfew in place, people woke up to see a deathless day. But the situation took an ugly turn in the Qamarwari area, with the police and the CRPF opening fire to break protests, resulting in the death of one person. Soon, hundreds of slogan-shouting people appeared on the streets and, as they refused to disperse, the CRPF opened fire, resulting in the death of a youth, Merajuddin Lone. Several people were injured.
Another youth, Anees Ganai, was killed as the police and the CRPF opened fire in the Narwara area to disperse a similar crowd.
“We are trying our best to observe restraint, but the other side is hell bent on crossing the limits. We are forced to open fire,” said a police officer, pleading anonymity.
Soon after the killings, people defied curfew in the old city and came out in protest. As their number swelled, the police and the CRPF retreated and gave way to the people who were heading towards the eidgah to bury the second youth. They staged a sit-in on the road and offered prayers.
In the Shalteng area here, Suhail Ahmad Dar was critically injured in a police firing. He was taken to hospital.
Kulgam district in south Kashmir continued to remain on the boil for the second day. Sources in the police said a youth, Jehangir Ahmad Bhat, was killed at Frisal in the Yaripora area and 15 were injured, two critically, in a firing by the police and the CRPF against demonstrators. Later, another youth, Bilal Ahmad Wagay, died of his injuries in hospital.
Reports said that after the incident, protesters set a police post on fire and burnt down a house and three shops. Mohammad Akbar Wani was seriously injured when the CRPF opened fire on protesters in the Rangwar area of Baramulla. He was admitted to hospital. In the nearby Ushkara village, 12 more reportedly sustained injuries in a firing.
Reports said 18-year-old Muneera was injured when the police and the CRPF opened fire on protesters in Pulwama in south Kashmir. The protesters set ablaze the office of the Social Welfare Department.
A police spokesman said protesters indulged in heavy stone pelting on the security forces in Srinagar, Budgam, Bandipora, Awantipora, Kulgam and Baramulla. “The protesters attacked public and police property at a number of places. They burnt down the tehsildar office in Bomai Sopore. Several police posts and houses of policemen were also set ablaze.”