Srinagar: Three persons were killed and 14 others injured as security forces allegedly opened fire on a stone-pelting mob that had attacked a senior police officer`s convoy in Baramulla district in Kashmir Valley on Monday.
Police initially used batons to chase away a group of youths who had blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla National Highway at Palhalan in Pattan area, 30 kms from here, police sources said.
The protesters started pelting stones, leading to clashes between the two sides. A convoy of a senior police officer was targeted by the stone pelters, prompting the security forces to open fire, they said. At least 17 persons were injured in the firing.
One of the injured, Feroze Ahmad Malik, died while being shifted to a hospital, Mohammad Ramzan Mir and Noor-ud-Din Tantray succumbed to injuries in different hospitals, they said. The condition of three of the injured is stated to be very critical.
A police spokesman said an inquiry has been initiated into the incident to fix responsibility. "Senior police officers have taken a serious view of the firing incident and an enquiry has been initiated.
Ammunition of the policemen is being checked to fix responsibility," the spokesman said, adding those found involved shall face action as per the law. Elsewhere in the Valley, people thronged markets for the second day on Monday to prepare for Eid-ul-Fitr to be observed later this week. The hardline Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani had called for a break in the ongoing agitation in view of the festivities.
While private and a few public transport vehicles were plying since this morning, Srinagar city and other major towns of the Valley were agog with activity in the afternoon. Schools and other educational institutions remained closed, while work in government and semi-government offices, banks, courts and other establishments was partially affected.
Traffic jams were witnessed at many intersections in the city as shoppers flocked to shops and bakeries. Residents of Batmaloo in central Srinagar staged a sit-in in their area demanding removal of CRPF picket.
Senior police officers visited the spot and assured the protesters that their complaints would be looked into, persuading them to call off their `dharna`, police said.
However, a group of youth among the protesters started pelting stones at the security forces leading to clashes between the two sides. With the fresh deaths, the toll in the ongoing turmoil, which began with killing of a 17-year-old youth during protests in Rajouri Kadal area of the city on June 11, in Kashmir valley has now gone up to 68.