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Separatists snub PM; three more die in Kashmir

Defying house arrest, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq climbs the gate of his residence to attend the Martyrs’ day ceremony. — Photo: Nissar Ahmad

Defying house arrest, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq climbs the gate of his residence to attend the Martyrs’ day ceremony. — Photo: Nissar Ahmad  

Hurriyat leaders extend shutdown call by two days

With three more deaths on Wednesday, the Kashmir Valley remained on the edge for the fifth consecutive day even as separatists described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting in New Delhi to discuss the situation as “meaningless.”

Hospital sources said two protesters — Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Qazigund and Shahid Ahmad Magray of Kokernag — succumbed to their injuries while a youth, Hilal Ahmad, was killed in Anantnag’s Harnag area when an escort team of a police officer opened fire on a crowd. There was, however, no confirmation of the Anantnag death.

According to a police spokesman, stone throwing continued on Wednesday and “stray and intermittent incidents were reported from 13 places in north and south Kashmir.” A police officer was attacked by militants in Shopian district, he said.

The residence of Gowhar Tantry, a member of the Special Operations Group, was set on fire on Tuesday evening as mobs continued to attack policemen, politicians and party offices in south Kashmir.

Eye surgeons in demand

The State government approached the Centre to send specialist eye surgeons to treat the burgeoning number of patients hit by pellets in their eyes during the clashes. The Health Department has appealed to protesters and security forces to spare ambulances as around 60 such vehicles were allegedly attacked by mobs.

Separatists held

Separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik were detained on Wednesday when they tried to march towards the Old City to pay tributes to the 1931 martyrs, who are equally revered by mainstream and separatist politicians.

Twenty-two Kashmiris had died on this day 85 years ago during an assault on the Srinagar Central Jail under the Dogra rule.

In a joint statement, the separatist leaders extended the shutdown call by two days and asked Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “to join them in the protests.”

They welcomed United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement on Kashmir.

“The U.N. should come forward and take solid steps to resolve the Kashmir issue,” the statement said.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s meeting in Delhi, the separatists said: “Kashmir is neither an issue of law and order nor an economic problem. It is an old political and human problem that needs to be addressed according to the aspirations of the people and the ground realities in Kashmir.”

Paying tributes to the 1931 martyrs, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “The 27-year-long violence has left deep wounds in almost each home here and we have to jointly safeguard our State and our people from further bloodshed and destruction.”

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah accused the government of “portraying a false sense of normalcy in the State rather than actually working towards normalising the situation by ending the cycle of killings and violence.”

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2020 6:33:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Separatists-snub-PM-three-more-die-in-Kashmir/article14487050.ece

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