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Valley on the boil,2 more die in police firing

At 2.30 pm,a bullet hit school boy Asif Hassan (10) in the chest,making him the second civilian death in firing by security forces on processions today.

Written by Muzamil Jaleel | Narbal |
June 29, 2010 3:56:24 am

At 2.30 pm,a bullet hit school boy Asif Hassan (10) in the chest,making him the second civilian death in firing by security forces on processions today.

The CRPF and police opened fire at six places to stop hundreds marching towards Sopore where the town was out on the streets,protesting the killing earlier of three young men.

At Hokersar,some policemen were caught by angry protestors who began beating them.

Though the J-K government accused the CRPF of being “out of control”,it appeared that the government itself had lost control of the situation:

*The busy highway linking Srinagar to north Kashmir has been taken over by protesters,moving in large groups and chanting Azadi slogans.

*Felled poplars,stones and burning tyres are being used to block the road.

*Each time police and CRPF personnel in armoured vehicles run over barricades,people disperse into the paddy fields,only to regroup.

*Security forces had to fire tear smoke shells and resort to firing after protestors hurled stones and bricks at them.

*The barricades are being manned by dozens of angry young men who open the road only to let ambulances pass.

*At several points on the road,protesters have painted “Go India Go” signs.

This evening,the J-K government called a press conference,seeking public appreciation for “controlling the law and order situation in Srinagar effectively”. After a meeting at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s residence,senior NC minister Ali Mohammad Sagar and Congress minister Taj Mohideen told the media that “the government has devised a mechanism to help control the situation that will ensure no casualty from tomorrow”.

The government sent Mohammad Sayeed Khan as Special Commissioner,North Kashmir and deputed IGP (Vigilance) Pankaj Saxena as Special IGP.

The call to march to Sopore was given by separatists to protest the killing of two young men on Friday. But the situation took an ugly turn when a 20-year-old football player,Bilal Ahmad Wani,was killed by CRPF late Saturday evening. The state government called the CRPF action “unwarranted” and Sagar called a press conference to allege that the Central force had gone “out of control”. The government even sought an urgent Kashmir visit by the Union Home Minister to rein in the CRPF.

The government,however,appeared to have misread the situation. Its focus was to calm tempers in Sopore and, by shifting the blame on the CRPF,it hoped that the response to the Sopore march call would be somewhat lukewarm.

By 11 am today,hundreds from Srinagar city and adjoining areas had reached the Srinagar-Baramulla highway to join a 47-km walk towards Sopore. When inhabitants of Sopore turned out to carry Wani’s body for burial,the CRPF and police fired tear smoke shells to disperse them. They then opened fire,leaving five people wounded. Word spread and prompted more processions towards Sopore.

The CRPF and police confronted a large procession headed from the Handwara-Kupwara Road towards Sopore. As the procession reached Kapra theatre on the outskirts of the town,securitymen opened fire,killing 17-year-old Tajamul Bashir of Wadoora village.

By noon,there was chaos on the 55 km stretch of the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Heavy contingents of police and CRPF were positioned at various points to break up the march. They fired tear smoke shells and opened fire at half a dozen places from Parimpora crossing to Narbal junction but each time,the processionists gathered again. More than a dozen people were injured.

Near Narbal crossing,a police contingent attacked a group of reporters and cameramen covering the processions. Despite loud shouts from journalists,two policemen took positions on the road and opened fire at the journalists. The bullets hit a brick wall as journalists scrambled for cover in a field. An officer intervened to calm his men but told the reporters to leave.

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