PM reviews Kashmir situation as violence claims 8 more lives



PM reviews Kashmir situation as violence claims 8 more lives Srinagar: Violence in Kashmir Valley escalated further on Sunday when eight persons were killed in separate incidents with five of them perishing in a blast after explosives went off in a police station set afire by a mob.

With the eight deaths, the number of people killed in the fresh wave of violence since Friday has risen to 14.

In New Delhi, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met tonight for the second time under a month to take stock of the situation in Kashmir Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister appealed for calm and asked political parties and leaders to cooperate with the government to bring back peace in the state. He vowed to deal sternly with law breakers and the perpetrators of violence, asserting that he will not allow them "to win".

Five civilians were killed and 35 others injured when a mob set afire a police station, where explosives were stored, triggering a massive blast in Khrew area on outskirts of Srinagar city, police said.

A mob had laid siege to the police station, 20 kms from here, and started pelting stones after which additional forces were rushed to the area who rescued the police personnel in the police station.

Police said a loud explosion took place as the protesters set afire the abandoned police station, where some explosive materials besides a cooking gas cylinder were also kept.

In Khrew earlier in the day, protesters attempted to set afire a police post and take away the weapons. As the crowd refused to calm down, police fired at them leading to the death of a woman identified as Afrosa.

Barring Handwara, Baramulla town, Budgam, Awanitipora and Ganderbal, curfew remained in force in rest of the Valley for the second day.

In other incidents, two persons were killed as police opened fire to disperse mobs who blocked a national highway on the city outskirts.

The situation in saffron-rich area of Pampore turned ugly when agitators blocked NH-1A at a number of places by erecting barricades from Pantha Chowk to Pampore, a police spokesman said.

The mobs blocked the highway at Galandar, Kadlabal, Barsoo, Frastabal and Pampore and also torched office-cum- residence of a tehsildar. They set afire a police vehicle and damaged several others.

The protesters snatched weapons from local court guards and also indulged in heavy stone pelting on a police station and security personnel, the spokesman said, adding the situation turned worse when suspected terrorists fired on the personnel from amongst them.

After a baton charge and tear gas shelling failed to disperse the mobs, police opened fire to quell them. While Nayeem Ahmad Shah died on the spot, two others sustained injuries.

A number of policemen including a Deputy Superintendent of Police of Awantiopora suffered injuries. Another person Raees also succumbed to his injuries later in the hospital.

PTI