Kashmir enters third month of unrest

As the unrest in Kashmir entered its third month, fresh violence left over 60 protesters injured during four massive rallies on Wednesday.

Heavy deployment of forces continued in all major towns of Kashmir valley and capital Srinagar. Normal life remained suspended as schools, private businesses and petrol pumps continued to be shut for the 61st day.

Locals alleged that a civilian, Zahoor Andrabi, 72, a resident of Kulgam’s Chawalgam village, died of cardiac arrest after a tear-smoke shell exploded near him.

Clashes continue

South Kashmir’s Kulgam and Shopian witnessed major rallies during the day, leading to clashes with security forces. Over 50 civilians were injured in the clashes.

A police spokesman said 300 protesters pelted stones on police and set ablaze the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala School in Kulgam. “Miscreants also hurled a petrol bomb on a rest house in Chawalgam, causing partial damage,” said the spokesman.

Seventeen people were injured during clashes in Anantnag’s Bijbehara area, Ganderbal and Kupwara. A pro-freedom rally was also dispersed in Pulwama, sparking clashes.

Parts of Srinagar, including Batamaloo and Padshahi Bagh, also saw clashes when security forces raided houses to nab stone-throwers.

Seventy-four civilians have been killed and over 10,000 people, including security personnel, injured in the past two months in the Valley.

Meanwhile, militants ambushed an Army convoy in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Wednesday morning, injuring three soldiers. They were taken to a Srinagar hospital.

CM happy, Omar upset

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the resolution of the all-party delegation to Kashmir on Wednesday, while former CM Omar Abdullah lambasted the delegates for their “sterile appeal”.

Stressing the “engagement and reconciliation is the only way forward”, Ms. Mufti said, “Unfortunately the separatist leadership missed the recent opportunity of engaging with the country’s Parliamentarians. It’s in the danger of being squarely blamed for holding up the resolution process.”

Ms. Mufti said the resolution adopted at the all-party meeting in New Delhi has “reiterated the urgency of engagement and dialogue”. “We hope a fresh and productive effort to reach out to all the stakeholders to address the issue through inclusive and comprehensive engagement.”

National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah, however, criticised the all-party delegation’s resolution.

“Seventy-five people have died, thousands of civilians and security personnel have been injured and there is no sense of urgency in getting a grip on things,” he said. “If all they (the delegation) had to do was issue this tame and sterile appeal, they could very easily have done so without wasting the time and money on a visit.” He said the delegation failed to achieve anything. “I'm struggling to find a single achievement that the all-party delegation can lay claim to after visiting J&K. Nothing comes to mind as yet!” he said.

The former Chief Minister said it was time Ms. Mufti stopped “blaming everyone around her and took responsibility for mess that Jammu and Kashmir is in.”

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 1:00:25 PM |

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