With 3 more deaths, Kashmir turbulence toll reaches 37
Youth killed in Anantnag; another succumbs at hospital; teenage girl
critical after being hit with teargas shell; separatists extend shutdown by 2 more days; clashes continue in Valley on 5th day
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: With the addition of three more fatal casualties on Wednesday, death toll in the five-day-long clashes over the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter has reached 37.
Even as Wednesday’s routine press release issued from Kashmir zonal headquarters of Police did not mention any figures, like in the last three days, authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that the death toll has reached 36 with the killing of a 17-year-old bakery boy in Anantnag. Sources said that Hilal Ahmad Rather of Sofipora got killed when a Police cavalcade was attacked by a mob at Khandipai Harnag on Srinagar-Jammu national highway at district headquarters of Anantnag on Wednesday evening.
A crowd of over 200 people launched the attack when Dy SP (headquarters) and Dy SP (operations) of Kulgam District Police were returning to Kulgam from Anantnag. Hilal was hit in the head near his eye and died on the spot. PSO of one of the two Dy SPs reportedly opened fire when the crowd blocked the road and resorted to stone pelting on the cavalcade.
Earlier, body of one Zahoor Ahmad Matoo (19) of Kisrigam Pulwama was spotted and fished out from Jhelum near Barsoo Awantipora. He had been reportedly missing from his home after he went to Burhan Wani’s Tral area upon learning about his death in an encounter on July 8th. His family members alleged that he had fallen in the river when Police chased a crowd and fired teargas shells near Padgampora on July 9th. He had been reportedly hit in his back.
Sources said that one Javed Ahmad Bhat (22) of Hawura Mishipora, Kaimoh, (Kulgam), who had got critically injured in Police and CRPF firing in his residential area, succumbed at SKIMS during last night. One Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Vessu (Kulgam) had reportedly succumbed to injuries on Monday evening. His death had not been reported on Tuesday. Its official confirmation was still awaited.
According to the official sources a 14-year-old girl Insha Manzoor was hit in her head and with multiple pellets in her face and neck when escort personnel of DIG South Kashmir retaliated to intense stone pelting at Sedav, between Shopian and Aharbal on Tuesday evening. DIG’s cavalcade was returning from Shopian to Anantnag via Kulgam. Doctors at SMHS Hospital described the teenager as “extremely critical”
On the 5th consecutive day of turbulence, curfew remained in force in entire Valley while as the separatists’ call for five-day shutdown ended today. However, prominent separatist leaders, including heads of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, besides JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik extended the call by two more days. They asked the people to stage protests after the weekly congregational prayers at all the mosques in Kashmir on Friday next.
The separatists’ call for a march to Srinagar was foiled with strict enforcement of curfew as they had planned to gather at the Martyrs Graveyard near Khanyar where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti paid tributes to the martyrs of July 13, 1931, amid tight security arrangements. All the separatists leaders have been held under house arrest since last week. Geelani and Mirwaiz were taken into custody and detained at two Police Stations today when they attempted to march to Martyrs Graveyard in defiance of curfew. They were both released but put under house arrest.
Officials said that scores of clashes were reportedly on Wednesday from different places including the summer capital Srinagar. Over 1500 people have already sustained in more than 600 of such clashes in the last five days. Four persons with gunshot wounds were admitted to SKIMS and two more to SMHS Hospital today. Doctors described them all stable.
Unidentified militants fired on cavalcade of SDPO Zainapora near Malik Gund Imamsahab when the officer was on way to Imamsahab from Shopian. Police retaliated and the militants escaped.
112 eye surgeries at SMHS, SKIMS Medical College
Officials at SMHS Hospital told STATE TIMES that as many as 125 patients with their eyes damaged by pellets were admitted in the last 5 days. Surgery was performed on 95 of them. Principal SKIMS Meedical College Dr Riyaz Ontoo said that 18 patients with pellet injuries were brought to his hospital. He said that surgery was performed on 17 of them.
On Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s requisition, a team of three doctors from Ophthalmology Department AIIMS New Delhi, comprising Dr Rohan Chawla, Dr Sudarshan Khokhar and Dr Ganesh Ilia, arrived in Srinagar in the evening for providing specialised treatment to the people whose eyes had been damaged by pellets during clashes with Police and paramilitary forces.