Three persons were killed and over 150 injured in fresh clashes which rocked Kashmir at several places after Friday prayers, raising the death toll during the current unrest to 53.
The clashes took place even as curfew was extended to more areas of Kashmir to thwart a planned march by separatists to Hazratbal shrine here even as normal life in the Valley remained paralysed for the 28th consecutive day. Mohammad Maqbool Khanday was killed allegedly in action by security forces against mobs who indulged in stone-pelting after Friday prayers at Nagam in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, a police official said.
As the news of Khanday’s death spread, protests erupted at several places along the Chanapora-Chadoora road and clashes were reported from Kralpora area, he said. In another incident, three youth were critically injured in action by security forces against violent mob at Khansahib
area of Budgam district, the official said. He said the injured were taken to SMHS hospital here where one of them was declared “brought dead” by the doctors. The death of the youth led to protests within the hospital and some youth started pelting stones on the nearby Karan Nagar police station.
One youth was killed in a clash in Sopore, he said. Mobs also indulged in stone-pelting on the ancestral house of Asia Naqash, Minister of State for Health, in Habbak area of Srinagar. However, nobody was in the house. The house of Independent MLA Hakeem Mohd Yaseen was also attacked by mobs in Khan Sahib area but nobody was injured, the official said.
The official said clashes between protestors and security forces were also reported from Sopore town and Palhallan townin north Kashmir Baramulla district and Goshbug in Kupwara district.More than 100 people were reported to be injured in these clashes but officials refused to comment on this, saying they were busy with law and order situation.
Earlier in the day, authorities had extended curfew to more areas of Kashmir to thwart a planned march by separatists to Hazratbal shrine. Curfew was imposed in entire Srinagar district as also in Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag town, Awantipora, Kulgam town, Baramulla district excluding Sopore, Shopian town, Kaloosa in Bandipora and parts of Handwara, the police official said. He said restrictions were also clamped on assembly of four or more persons in rest of the Valley as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. Security forces had been deployed in strength in sensitive and vulnerable areas to maintain law and order.
Normal life in the Valley remained affected for the 28th consecutive day due to the curbs imposed by the authorities and separatist-sponsored strike against the death of civilians in clashes between violent mobs and security forces following the killing of Hizbul Majahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter July 8. Schools, colleges, business establishments, petrol pumps banks and private offices remained closed while public transport remained off roads. Attendance in government offices was also thin, the official said.
For the last couple of days, many shops and business establishments open after sundown after the separatists announced relaxation in the agitation programme to allow people to buy essentials in view of the prolonged shut down. Mobile internet services continued to remain snapped in the entire Valley where the outgoing facility on prepaid connections is barred.
The separatists, who have extended the shutdown call in Kashmir till August 12, have demanded that mainstream politicians resign from their parties and posts. They have called for blocking routes to Civil Secretariat here and other government offices in districts to “ensure that no employee is able to join the duty”. 53 people have been killed in the violence and 5,500 injured during the unrest. Police has launched a massive crackdown against “hooligans and miscreants” in Kashmir, arresting nearly 500 youths from across the Valley.