Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah finally broke silence after fresh violence broke out in the state between locals protesting the killing of youth in alleged CRPF firing, leaving three persons dead.
Addressing a press conference on the issue of stone pelting, which has left 25 CRPF Jawans injured in the last four days, leaving the state in disquiet, Abdullah appealed to the people to maintain calm and stop their children from indulging in pelting stones.
“Security forces have been asked to maintain all restraint possible, but they cannot do so if curfew is violated,” he said.
“We are doing every thing to maintain peace and bring normalcy in the valley and the curfew will be expanded if the situation demands. These are not normal times as it is a fight between ideologies where the emotions of youth are being wrongly exploited,” he said.
Emphasising on the need to understand the situation by the citizens of the state, he said that, “Protests should stop immediately and too much of antagonism against CRPF will be of no use as it will only disrupt law and order situation in the state.”
Abdullah also appealed to the media to carry the message of peace and restrain from publishing inflammatory news.
Earlier in the day, two youths identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad, 23, resident of Anchidora (Anantnag) and Ishtiyaq Ahmad, 20, resident of Dialgam (Anantnag) were killed and three others critically injured when security forces opened fire on Anantnag-Pahalgam road after being attacked by a mob there this (Tuesday) afternoon," a senior police officer said here.
Stone-pelting by protestors in Jammu and Kashmir have left 25 CRPF jawans injured in the last four days, officials said.
With violence spreading to more places, curfew was imposed this morning in parts of Baramulla, Anantnag and seven police station areas of Srinagar as the situation remained tense in troubled Sopore in the wake of the protests.
In view of the violence, mobile services in north Kashmir and SMS service in the entire valley were blocked on the instructions of the state government.
With separatists giving fresh calls for strike, life remained crippled across Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, for the fifth consecutive day today.
In Anantnag, 65 kms from here, locals assembled at a bus stand and protested against the killings. Paramilitary forces deployed in the town initially cane charged them but when they refused to budge, they opened fire resulting in injuries to three persons including a teenager identified as Irshiad Ahmad Bhat.
He suffered a bullet injury in one of his legs at the Mattan bus stand, a police spokesman told PTI. He said Bhat was admitted to a hospital where doctors described his condition as stable.
The spokesman said people also took to the streets in K P Road in Anantnag but there was no report of any casualty in the clashes that ensued between the protestors and law enforcing agencies.
In Srinagar, agitators staged protest demonstrations in Maisuma area, Zaldager, Galwanpora, the airport road, Nund Resh Colony, Boatman colony in Bemina, Batmaloo and HMT Zainakote, he said. Five persons were injured in the clashes.
In Baramulla town of north Kashmir where a teenager was killed yesterday, people staged demonstrations in the town, Delina and Khanpora and clashed with security forces resulting in injuries to five persons, he said.
Additional contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in curfew-bound Sopore and other areas to maintain calm, police sources said.
Two persons died and 65 others, including 32 policemen, were injured in the violent clashes in various parts of the valley yesterday. One of the two persons killed was a native of Baramulla.
Curfew, which was restricted to Sopore town since June 25, has been extended to Baramulla as authorities apprehended trouble, police said.
Life was disrupted across Kashmir Valley following a two-day strike called by the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference to protest killing of youths in alleged CRPF firing.
Government offices, educational institutions, banks, semi-government offices and other establishments were closed and traffic was off the road, officials said.
The women`s separatist outfit Dukhtarain-e-illat and Kashmir Bar Association have extended their support to the strike called by hardline Hurriyat and appealed masses to make the protest successful.
Meanwhile, a human rights body today criticised Home Secretary G K Pillai`s statement on the civilian deaths in Jammu and Kashmir.
"By condoning and rationalising the deplorable actions of the CRPF and police, Pillai characterised civilians fired upon by security personnel as people who were culpable as they violated curfew. It is an evidence of the patronage that the security forces enjoy here," International People`s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir (IPTK) convener Angana Chatterji told reporters here.
Pillai had yesterday said that people who break curfew and attack police posts cannot be termed as "innocent civilians".