17 security men hurt as militants hurl grenades in Kashmir

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:53 am IST

Published - August 25, 2016 12:26 am IST - SRINAGAR:

Militants hiding among the protesters lobbed two grenades at the security forces during a stone-throwing protest near the Government Degree College in Pulwama on Wednesday.

“Seventeen police and CRPF personnel were injured, including three senior police officers,” a police spokesman said.

Later, the security forces opened fire, injuring more civilians. Four critically injured were shifted to a Srinagar hospital. The Pakistan-occupied Kashmir-based Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack. “We hurled grenades at a time when no protest was taking place as militant outfits have decided to stay away from the rallies,” claimed its spokesman.

Clashes occurred in Safa Kadal, Batamallo and Nati Pora in Srinagar. Security forces lobbed teargas shells to chase the protesters. Earlier, three civilians were injured in the action by security forces at Safa Kadal. More than 20 civilians were injured in clashes at Kawoosa, Budgam district. Curfew was lifted from large parts of Srinagar. However, restrictions remained under Section 144 in the entire Kashmir Valley.

Seen as the Centre’s first concrete political outreach to end ongoing civilian unrest in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to hold talks with those “having faith in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat”, in an oblique invitation to separatists. Most separatist leaders not only rejected the offer but hardened their position.

Making it clear that the visit was not only meant to assess the security scenario, Mr. Singh tweeted: “I will be staying at the Nehru Guest House. Those who believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat [Humanity] and Jamhooriyat [democracy] are welcome… (I) shall interact with civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders.”

Except mainstream political parties, including the ruling PDP and the Opposition National Conference and Congress, civil society groups and prominent trade bodies did not meet Mr. Singh.

NC working president Omar Abdullah blamed the State government for failing to “do the groundwork” ahead of Mr. Singh’s visit. “In 2010, I managed to get civil society and traders to meet the all-party delegation. The State government was supposed to do the groundwork, in which it has failed. I fear we may miss an opportunity again,” said Mr. Abdullah, who again called for “an all-inclusive talks for the final settlement of Kashmir’s political problem”.

The Congress delegation, led by State president G.A. Mir, informed Mr. Singh of the “extremely turbulent situation”. “We sought an immediate ban on pellet and other types of lethal weapons. There is also a need to restore lost trust and confidence of people, as there was a deep sense of alienation,” Mr. Mir said. He called for “a comprehensive, meaningful and sustained political dialogue with all stakeholders”.

Speaking to the media, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sought an end to violence. “Majority of stakeholders want resolution through peaceful political means. There is a need to create conducive atmosphere for reviving the dialogue and resolution process,” she said.

Calling for “winning the hearts and minds”, Ms. Mufti wanted the roadmap in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ be implemented.

Rejecting talks within the ambit of the Constitution, separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani hardened their position. “Dialogue under the Indian Constitution is nothing but waste of time. We don’t accept the Indian Constitution. India should accept Kashmir as a disputed territory and start demilitarisation,” Mr. Geelani said. The Mirwaiz insisted that “any dialogue meant for lasting solution should include Pakistan.”

Separatists have also extended the shutdown and protest call till September 1 and asked the people to march towards the Army’s main installation in Srinagar with “a memorandum to leave the Valley” on August 27.

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