A 22-year-old man was killed when security forces reportedly fired at Batamaloo in Srinagar on Saturday evening and more than 50 students were injured in clashes in Pulwama. The firing in Srinagar took place when security forces were passing through Reki Chowk at Batamaloo when some youths threw stones at their vehicle, according to some eyewitnesses. The security forces then reportedly opened fire. Sajad Ahmad, 22, a street vendor, reportedly received bullet injuries in the head. He was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead.
“It was unprovoked firing,” alleged a resident of Batamaloo. “The youths threw a few stones at the vehicle and they responded with bullets. He was not among the protesters”. Police said they were still checking the facts. “We are looking into the circumstances under which he was killed,” said a police spokesman. The incident triggered protests in Batamaloo, with protesters throwing stones at security forces. Police fired teargas shells to disperse the protesters. The death of Ahmad, who was originally from Chandoosa village in Baramulla, takes the toll in the Valley to nine in the last one week.
Meanwhile at Government Degree College in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, students claimed that CRPF and police personnel “barged in” and fired several rounds of pellets, tear-gas and PAVA shells on the protesters, leaving many of them, including women, injured. DIG (South Kashmir) S P Pani said there were outsiders too on the campus, and along with some students they threw stones on the security forces. “Others, including students and staff, were trapped inside amid heavy stone-pelting. The police party in their vehicles went to rescue them,” Pani said. He said two CRPF personnel, a DSP and a police SHO were injured.
Witnesses said around 2.30 pm, some male students outside the campus located in New Colony Trichoo threw stones at a routine CRPF and police patrol team. This, students said, enraged the security forces, and they reportedly entered the college in a mobile bunker (vehicle). This reportedly sparked further stone-throwing.
Ahmad Bhat, a third-semester student who was injured on right eye, reportedly by pellets fired by the forces, said, “I had internal assessment examination today. Soon after I finished it…I saw soldiers jumping in (into the campus). They started beating everyone. Suddenly, something hit my right eye, and it was bleeding.” Chief Medical Officer of Pulwama hospital Dr Abdul Rashid Parra said, “Fifty-four injured were brought to our hospital. Most of them have been discharged.”