TWO MORE persons died and several others, including policemen, were injured even as curfew remained in force in all 10 districts of Kashmir on Friday.
Thirty-nine people, including two policemen, have now died and more than 1,600 injured — several of them police personnel — since protests began last week following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.
Fearing widespread protests on the first Friday since the protests began, the administration deployed additional troops at sensitive places. The government snapped all mobile phone connectivity, barring BSNL, on Thursday.
Despite the restrictions, stone-pelting was reported from seven districts across north, south and central Kashmir.
A police spokesperson said three militant attacks took place at Yaripora (Kulgam district), Natnusa and Lolab (both in Kupwara) on Friday, leaving 16 policemen injured. One of them was stated to be critical.
Friday prayers were not held at Srinagar’s Grand Mosque — the Jamia Masjid — even as the situation was tense in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital amid curfew and restrictions
In north Kashmir’s Kupwara town, a group of youths clashed with security forces soon after Friday prayers.
One person died and three were injured when the forces opened fire at Drugmulla. The deceased youth was identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Gani. The police said protesters were trying to attack an Army camp and they had to open fire.
As protesters clashed with the police after Friday prayers at Yaripora in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, officials said policemen were trying to control the situation when unidentified people hurled a grenade at the police team. Seven policemen were injured, and one of them is critical.
In the same area, a protester — identified as Sayar Ahmad, 17, of Chitragam — was killed and three others were injured. While locals alleged that Ahmad was killed in police firing, a police spokesperson said he died of firing by militants.
Clashes were also reported in Sopore after Friday prayers, that resulted in pellet injuries to five people. At Khaitengan in Baramulla district, two people were injured when police opened fire on a group of protesters in the morning. Doctors at the district hospital said both were stable.
Meanwhile, separatists extended the bandh call for the next 72 hours. Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told The Indian Express, “Our voices are being stifled. We are not being allowed to mourn our dead, so we will continue (strike) till Monday.”
Encounter genuine: Army
Srinagar: A day after PDP’s Baramulla MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig raised ‘doubts’ over the encounter in which Burhan Wani was killed, the Army Friday reiterated that the encounter was genuine. Army’s Northern Command on its Twitter handle posted: “The operation was genuine, well conceived and surgically executed with great precision and minimum collateral damage.” ENS