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Tension as 2 more die in CRPF firing

Protesters throw stones at a policeman as he runs for cover during a clash near Srinagar on Monday.  

Two boys were killed in north Kashmir on Monday in firing by the Central Reserve Police Force, during clashes with crowds protesting shootings involving security forces.

The CRPF opened fire on people attempting to take out processions to Sopore from its outskirts and villages surrounding it.

At least 60 people, including a Senior Superintendent of Police, were injured as protesters clashed with police.

Only 13 hours earlier a youth was killed in CRPF firing in Sopore, where curfew continued for the fourth day.

Reports said 17-year-old Tajamul Bhat was killed when the CRPF opened fire near Wadoora on a procession heading to Sopore, in response to a call by the Hurriyat Conference (Geelani).

The police and the CRPF deployed there tried to stop them but as the marchers attempted to break through, the paramilitary forces resorted to firing.

An eyewitness charged that the CRPF picket stationed at Shah Kar theatre “openly fired on us.”

The firing provoked more street protests, with people raising pro-freedom slogans.

Thousands defied curfew to join the funeral of Bilal Wani who was killed on Sunday and to protest the new killing. Police said militants attacked a police station in the town.

Hours after the killing of Tajamul, nine-year-old Asif Hassan Rather was killed when CRPF opened fire on another procession moving towards Sopore. The protesters were intercepted near Delina.

Asif who was shot in the chest was rushed to hospital, but died on the way. Doctors said he was brought dead.

Another person, Abid Gojri, received a bullet wound in his leg. “He is in a critical condition,” his relative said.

Soon after the incidents of firing, authorities jammed telephone services in the area to stop the “rumour mill.”

In Srinagar also police had a tough time controlling a procession heading for Sopore. Thousands marched on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway and covered 10 km. before they were dispersed.

Police opened fire in the air, used tear gas shells and resorted to cane-charge. Several people, including 32 police men, were injured. Many vehicles were also damaged.

SSP Srinagar Syed Ashaq Bukhari was injured in stone-pelting by the crowd, which also tried to attack the Parimpora police station but it was foiled.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Farooq Ahmad said the situation was under control though tense.

“After the death of two boys there is tension but the situation is still under control” he told The Hindu. Police had put under arrest separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Meanwhile, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar on Sunday said that “the CRPF had gone out of control as there was total lack of command.” Mr. Sagar also said Home Minister P. Chidambaram should immediately visit Kashmir and “rein in the CRPF.”

However, PCC chief Saifuddin Soz said the J&K police administration should “declare unequivocally that it was absolutely responsible for law and order in the State, especially in Kashmir where, unfortunately, civilian killings have become a routine.”

Mr. Sagar's statement that the CRPF was not obeying the orders of the government has not produced any positive results on the ground, he said.

He also said the veracity of the Minister's statement is yet to be corroborated by the J&K Police.

The civilian deaths in CRPF firing have been widely condemned by political parties, with many demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Charges refuted

PTI reports from New Delhi:

The CRPF has refuted allegations of high-handedness in tackling protesters in Jammu and Kashmir and said it was working along with the State police.

“The CRPF is working along with the Magistrate and the Jammu and Kashmir Police,” CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava said.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 3:21:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Tension-as-2-more-die-in-CRPF-firing/article16271229.ece

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