Fresh killings in Indian-controlled Kashmir clashes raise death toll to 21

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/11 6:55:19

Clashes in Indian-controlled Kashmir between protesters and government forces continued for the second straight day Sunday despite curfew, pushing death toll to 21 including a policeman, officials said.

The latest killing took place in the evening at Tengpora in Srinagar, where policemen fired upon a youth. A senior health official at SKIMS Medical College Bemina Dr Reyaz Untoo told media the youth was brought dead to the hospital.

"He had bullet injuries in abdomen," Untoo said.

The clashes and violent anti-India demonstrations triggered following the killing of a popular militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani in a gunfight. Wani was killed along with two associates on Friday.

"There has been no respite in the ongoing clashes and we have information that so far 21 people (20 protesters and one policeman) were killed since yesterday," an official said. "The policeman was killed due to drowning after the vehicle he was driving was pushed into river by protesters."

Officials said the armoured police vehicle was pushed into river by angry protesters at Sangam village in southern district of Anantnag.

Meanwhile, local government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar appealed people not to agitate and sought the support of the mainstream and separatist political parties to restore calm in the restive region.

"The cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives and made a fervent appeal to all shades of political opinion, including the mainstream and the separatists, to help restore calm as the violence has neither served any purpose in the past nor is it going to do so in the prevailing circumstances," Akhtar said.

Akthar, who is also a minister in the local government walked out of the press conference and refused to answer questions from media.

Reports of fresh clashes were received from several places of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Budgam and Srinagar districts with many reported injured. Officials said about 200 people were injured during the two days of violence. The irate youth threw rocks and brickbats on contingents of Indian troops and police, who responded by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets.

Police officials said protesters attacked several police and paramilitary posts in the region. According to police, around 90 policemen were also injured in the crowd control.

Police describes Wani's killing as a "major setback" to local militants and see it as "success".

Sensing trouble the authorities soon after Wani's killing suspended cellphone, internet and train services in the region, and indefinitely halted an annual Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath. The pilgrimage to the mountain cave attracts about half a million people every year.

Thousands of Indian troops and policemen in riot gears carrying automatic rifles have been deployed across towns and villages in the region to prevent protests.

India's state-run broadcaster - All India Radio (AIR) said a reinforcement of 12 companies of paramilitary troopers have been rushed for deployment in southern districts.

Local newspaper reports said heath officials at Srinagar's main hospital -SMHS have declared a medical emergency in wake of increasing number of injured admitted at the hospital, with majority of them admitted with firearm wounds. The hospital authorities have cancelled routine surgeries in the hospital because of rush of injured people.

The 22-year-old Wani was poster boy of of HM, region's indigenous militant outfit. He had featured in videos - wearing combat fatigues and brandishing automatic weapons - circulated on social networking websites aimed at encouraging new generation of Kashmiris to join militant groups and warning policemen to confine themselves in police stations.

The fresh killings are likely to fuel further anger in the volatile region.

blog comments powered by Disqus