At least three civilians were killed and 25 injured as security forces opened fire on protesters who defied curfew in Baramulla, Pulwama and Budgam districts.

The Army was called in to take control of the Srinagar-Baramulla highway and several villages days ahead of a call given by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani to march towards Army camps.

Demonstrations

Even as curfew remained in force in Srinagar and other major towns for the sixth consecutive day, thousands defied restrictions at some places holding protest demonstrations and the security forces used force to quell them. At Churpora in Budgam district, the forces opened fire at demonstrators in which four persons were injured. Later Fayaz Ahmad Dar succumbed to injuries. This led to further protests in the area. Locals claimed that the Army personnel were deployed in the area and they opened fire.

On the highway in Tappar village people staged protests and threw stones at the security forces. As they tried to break the demonstrations, the people turned aggressive and the Army opened fire in which one Ghulam Rasool Bhat was seriously injured. He was taken to hospital where he died. A few more received injuries.

In Chichloora Beerwah one person was injured in firing. Residents in Tappar alleged that the Army opened fire “without any provocation.” Imtiyaz Ahmed Malla (25) of Pehlipora, Shopian, who was injured in police and CRPF firing at Shirmal, 2 km from Shopian, on Friday died on way to hospital near Pulwama. Reports said two others, who were also injured during clashes at Shirmal, were stated to be critical.

There were clashes in Panzgham, Kupwara where 25 persons were injured after the Army launched a crackdown on the village.

For the first time since June 11, the Army was deployed on the highway and other villages in Budgam and Baramulla districts to control the mobs which have been going on with the “Go India Go Back” campaign launched by Mr. Geelani.

The Army was deployed from Pattan on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway and some other villages where they enforced strict curfew. Sources said it was being done to mount pressure on people who had been asked by Mr. Geelani to go to the nearest Army camp and “tell them to leave Kashmir.”

“Routine patrol”

When contacted, Defence spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar told The Hindu that the Army had not taken over but it was doing routine patrol.

“If they come under attack they have to defend themselves,” he said

A police spokesman said the situation by and large continued to remain under control, however, stone-pelting incidents were reported from the Padgampora Awantipora, Main Chowk Sopore, Malik Masjid, and Aalialpora areas of Shopian after Friday prayers. The miscreants, who threw stones at the security forces, were chased away.

In two separate incidents of arson, miscreants set ablaze one shop belonging to the family of a policeman at Singhpora, Baramulla and two Forest Protection Force Huts at Shirmal Shopian.

Yasir Sheikh, cousin of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, was laid to rest at Dalgate here on Friday after his body reached from New Delhi.

Sheikh was injured in police firing on August 30 at Maisuma. He was admitted to the SMHS hospital, Srinagar, from where he was referred to New Delhi's Apollo Hospitals, where he died on Wednesday night.

Mr. Malik and other separatist leaders joined Sheikh's funeral procession.