Troops Open Fire In Budgam, Kupwara, 3 More Killed

27 August 2008
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Three more persons were killed and several injured Wednesday when government forces opened fire on groups of people in curfew bound northern Kupwara and central Budgam districts in the Kashmir valley. According to reports from Kupwara, the incident there took place during two hour curfew relaxation period that was clamped four days ago all over Kashmir valley to prevent pro-independence demonstrations. According to police sources, troops opened fire when a group of people after noon prayers started raising anti-India slogans outside a mosque in Bandey Mohalla in Handwara township. One person identified as Muhammad Yusuf Bandey was killed on the spot while several others were wounded. Protests spread to other areas following the news of death in firing. Authorities re-imposed curfew immediately afterwards but people in large numbers defied curfew and tried to take out processions in several areas. However some local residents reached over phone said that firing was unprovoked. A local resident Ashiq Hussain was quoted by NAK as saying that as people were returning from the mosque after noon prayers personnel of Army’s 21 RR caught hold of dozens of people and thrashed them severely for violating curfew. 18 persons were injured in army action. After hearing their screams, he continued, people came out in large numbers for their rescue. Seeing the big crowd army fired in panic in which local resident Muhammad Yousuf Banday sustained bullet injuries in his abdomen. He was rushed to sub-district hospital, Handwara, where he was declared brought dead. He further added that people enraged at the death protested in hospital premises and police there fired teargas shells and resorted to aerial firing. Some teargas shells were fired inside the hospital building creating chaos there. Agitated over the wanton use of force by security personnel more people gathered in the area and pelted stones on them resulting in minor injuries to five police personnel. The situation was tense as authorities apprehend fresh protests in the wake of the incident, the police sources said. Earlier a youth Hilal Ahmad Mir was shot dead by paramilitary forces in Soibug area of Budgam when protests broke out their during curfew hours. Another youth was hit by a teargas shell and was shifted to Srinagar in a critical condition where according to an unconfirmed report he too succumbed to his injuries. Reports said that the trouble here started after some shopkeepers opened their shops despite curfew and the Army objected to this. Soon there was a confrontation, leading to the firing. In Soura area of Srinagar, there was a small clash between the CRPF and some protesters in which two troopers were injured,” police said. Eleven people have been killed in CRPF firing since curfew was clamped on Kashmir valley Sunday morning.