Three persons were killed and an estimated 300 injured in fresh clashes with security forces in central and north Kashmir after Friday prayers, raising the death toll to 54 in the unrest that has followed the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Doctors said many among the injured had pellet wounds.
Mohammad Maqbool Wagay and Sameer Ahmad were killed in Budgam district while Danish Rasool, a Class X student who lived with his aunt, was killed in Sopore town.
The clashes took place after curfew was imposed in several places across Kashmir to foil a march, called by separatists, to Hazratbal shrine. Main roads were blocked and additional security forces were deployed to stop the march.
Police used teargas shells to disperse protesters at three places after the Friday prayers. At Hazratbal shrine and Grand Jamia Masjid, prayers were not held since the approach roads had been blocked by police and paramilitary forces.
Police detained separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq when they tried to march towards Hazratbal shrine.
Residents of Nagam Choodara in Budgam said security forces opened fire on protesters, killing one person. Another person died when protesters clashed with security forces in adjoining Khansahib. More than 30 people were injured in the Budgam clashes.
In Sopore, protests continued late Friday and police and paramilitary forces fired pellets and tear-smoke shells to disperse the crowds who had taken to the streets soon after the prayers.
Block Medical Officer Dr Sami told The Indian Express that 146 people were injured in Sopore. “We referred 16 of the injured to SMHS Hospital, Srinagar.’’ He said one person who had pellet wounds was brought dead to hospital. “All were injured by pellets and shells,’’ he said.
Another doctor said: “There is a crowd of injured at the hospital. After a while, we couldn’t maintain the entry register since the injured continued to pour in.’’
SMHS Hospital Medical Superintendent Nazir Choudhary said 80 injured had been brought to the hospital from different parts of the Valley. “Seven have bullet injuries, others have pellet injuries.’’
Protests were also staged in Kupwara district where people clashed with security forces in Zirhama, Kralpora, Langate and Natnusa villages. Residents said more than 50 protesters were injured.