Youth killed in fresh Kashmir clashes

Curfew remained in force Tuesday in the Kashmir Valley despite calls for peace by CM Omar Abdullah.

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2010, 13:21 PM IST

Srinagar: Violence again erupted in Srinagar and Budgam districts of the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday where protestors clashed with security forces who opened fire leaving a youth dead and five others injured.

With today`s death, a total of eight persons have been killed in the violence in the Valley since yesterday.

Defying curfew, residents of Qamarwari in Srinagar took to the streets and held demonstrations. When the security forces deployed in the area asked them to disperse, they refused, police said.

Security forces then opened fire, killing 25-year-old Mehraj Ahmed Lone and injuring three others.

In Budgam, locals held demonstrations and refused to disperse following which security forces opened fire.

Two persons were injured in the firing and have been hospitalised, police said.

Curfew remained in force on Tuesday in the Kashmir Valley following violence by rampaging mobs which indulged in stone-pelting, attacked government buildings and looted weapons from police.

The Valley was under the grip of tension for the fifth day.

Seven persons were killed yesterday as police opened fire to disperse the mobs who defied curfew and attacked police stations and CRPF camps in the Valley. 22 people have been killed and over 500 injured, including 200 security force personnel, in violence since last Friday.

Protestors raised pro-freedom slogans at mosques this morning. Schools, shops and business establishments were shut and security personnel restricted movement of people.

Mohammed Siddiqui, a resident of Batmaloo in central Srinagar, said in the absence of daily supplies his family was having to do without milk and vegetables.

As violence escalated in Kashmir Valley, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had chaired a meeting of the Unified Command here yesterday and reviewed the measures in place to tackle the situation.

Protesters had last night set a handicraft centre afire at Zalbager-Nawa Bazar in downtown Srinagar.

One protester had died in police firing after agitators attacked a police post and attempted to set it afire and another perished late last night in Kulgam district. In adjacent Sangam in Anantnag district, one person was killed when CRFP personnel retaliated to heavy stone throwing at their camp, police said, adding another person had died in a stampede following the firing.

At Kakpora, in south Kashmir`s Pulwama district, police had opened fire on a group of stone-pelting protesters who were indulging in ransacking, killing one of them.

One person was killed in Kralpora in north Kashmir`s Kupwara district when police fired on a mob which looted arms from a police post. The agitators managed to flee with four rifles.

A boy, injured in violence in Batmaloo district, succumbed to injuries last evening, police said.

Protesters had also set afire all the four buildings in a police station at Rajpura in Pulwama district injuring 20 people.

"Rampaging mobs violated curfew restrictions at various places in Kakapora, Pulwama, Budgam, Anantnag, Kulgam and Kupwara destroying police and public properties," police department said in a statement.

Protesters had also set afire two government offices and a railway structure in central Budgam district. Three protesters were injured there as police tried to contain the violence.

Three people were injured in firing in Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar.

A person identified as Tariq Ahmed, who was hit by a teargas shell three days back in Bijbehara in south Kashmir, had succumbed to his injuries in a hospital here.

The Centre had yesterday rallied behind Omar in handling the situation in the Kashmir Valley and indicated it is committed to carrying out political initiatives for which peace is a prerequisite.

Omar had called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the current unrest in the Valley and find an administrative and political way out.

The chief minister said said Jammu and Kashmir is a political situation which needs political handling. "It requires a political package more than an economic package," he said.

He also said curfew will be implemented strictly and sought additional paramilitary forces especially the Rapid Action Force to deal with street protesters.

He briefed the meeting in which all the members of the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna were present on the latest turn of events in Kashmir which witnessed a spurt in violence.

PTI