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Govt to SC: 42 killed, mosques used to incite youth in Kashmir

The bench had last week sought a status report from the Central government on the “ground realities and situations” prevailing in the Valley

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2016 2:54:19 am
A protester throws stones towards the Indian police during a protest in Srinagar, against the recent killings in Kashmir, India August 4, 2016. (Source: Reuters) A protester throws stones towards the police during a protest in Srinagar. (Source: Reuters)

The public address systems of “some local mosques were used to raise pro-freedom slogans and incite the youth to indulge in stone pelting/protests” while social media was extensively utilised to fuel the violence in Kashmir that followed the killing of militant Burhan Wani, according to a report submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Supreme Court.

Placed on Friday before a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, the report also stated that 42 civilians and two armed forces personnel were killed in the violence, and more than 2,650 people admitted in hospitals after sustaining injuries, with 470 of them undergoing major surgeries.

Further, it stated, 240 people suffered eye injuries after reportedly being hit by pellets fired by armed forces, of which at least one-fourth had to undergo major surgery to save their vision.

As on July 30, the report said, 51 protesters were still in hospitals with eye injuries while four others had been flown to AIIMS in New Delhi for specialised retina treatment. At least 48 high-end retinal surgeries were also conducted in the Valley over a period of three days in July by a team of expert doctors from Mumbai.

The bench had last week sought a status report from the Central government on the “ground realities and situations” prevailing in the Valley following the killing of Wani along with two other terrorists on July 8. The report is also the first official declaration by the MHA on the fallout of the violence.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar read out the relevant part of the report as he submitted that the situation was now under control.

The report disclosed that between July 9 and August 2, 2,656 patients were admitted in hospitals with injuries. At least 58 major eye-surgeries, including vitrectomy and retinal operations, were conducted during this period apart from 194 preliminary eye procedures.

The MHA contended in its report that “inimical and anti-social elements exploited the news of Wani’s death on social media platforms to inflame passions and incite sentiments” and that some mosques were also used to incite the youth to come on the streets.

A total of 872 incidents were reported between July 8 and August 3. Of these, 201 incidents occurred on July 9, a day after Wani’s death, followed by 153 on July 10. At least 3,783 armed forces personnel were injured, said the report, adding that 28 government establishments were set ablaze.

The MHA said that curfew was initially imposed in 10 districts but is now in place only in restricted areas of Srinagar, Anantnag and Pulwama districts.

The law officer told the bench that availability of medical facilities and supply of essential commodities had been ensured to avoid inconvenience to the people and the law-and-order situation has also shown remarkable improvement.

Taking the MHA report on record, the bench directed that a copy be given to senior advocate Bhim Singh, who has been representing the PIL petitioner J&K Panthers Party in the matter. The court asked Singh to respond to the report, which will now be examined on the next date of hearing on July 22.

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