HOURS BEFORE the all-party delegation begins its visit to try and find a solution to the ongoing unrest, a man was killed in pellet firing by security forces to control protesters in south Kashmir’s Qazigund area Saturday evening, taking the death toll to 73. The victim, Basit Ahmad Ahanger, 23, of Qazigund’s Vessu village, was declared dead on arrival at District Hospital, Anantnag. “He had multiple pellet injuries on his body,” Anantnag’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Fazil Kochak said.
In Srinagar, the body of a youth was fished out of the Jhelum, with several witnesses alleging that the body bore marks of pellets.
In Kund village of Qazigund earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had to cut short her visit when she went to condole the death of Mashooq Ahmad Sheikh, 21, who was killed on July 10. In what was her first visit to a victim’s home, many locals soon took to the streets in protest. As she left for the Army camp, protesters threw stones at her cavalcade and raised pro-freedom slogans, reports said.
Villagers later set on fire the house of PDP block president Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh, accusing him of “facilitating” the Chief Minister’s visit.
More than 30 local protesters were reported injured in Rainpora village of neighbouring Anantnag district when security personnel fired tear-smoke shells and pellets to control protesters.