July 2016 News

Burhan Wani Death: Valley Continues To Burn As Death Toll Rises To 21

10 July 2016

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, met and expressed anguish over the situation and the death of civilians. Kashmir continued to be on the boil with six more people, including a cop, getting killed in violence, raising the death toll to 21, even as curfew- like restrictions were in force and Mobile internet services remained suspended. Amarnath Yatra also remained suspended for the second day from Jammu due to the Kashmir unrest in which over 200 people, many of them police and security personnel, have been injured. However, the yatra from the base camps in Kashmir continued. The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, met and expressed anguish over the situation and the death of civilians in clashes with security forces in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The government promised to investigate if there was any instance of disproportionate use of force by security forces even as it appealed to the people not to become tools in the machinations of instigators of violence. The Cabinet also appealed to separatists, including Hurriyat Conference, as well as mainstream political parties like National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) to help restore normalcy 'if they want peace in the state'. In Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation that has developed in Kashmir and spoke to Mehbooba Mufti, assuring her of all possible help. The state police also urged protesters not to resort to violence, saying it does not bring the right consequences, and that it would like to avoid the killing of the youth. Even as curfew-like restrictions remained in force, violence was reported from a number of places. One person was killed this evening in reported firing by security forces in Tengpora in Srinagar, marking the first death in the capital city. An 18-year-old youth Irfan Ahmad Malik was critically injured in clashes between protestors and security forces at Newa in Pulwama this morning, a police official said. He was rushed to SMHS hospital here but succumbed to injuries. An unidentified person was brought to district hospital Pulwama in a critical condition but succumbed to injuries, he said, adding efforts are on to ascertain his identity. A police driver Feroz Ahmad was killed after a mob pushed his mobile bunker vehicle into river Jhelum at Sangam in Anantnag district, the official said. Efforts were on to fish out the body of the deceased cop. One more civilian was killed in a clash with security forces while another, who was injured yesterday, succumbed to injuries today, police said. In another incident, a head constable of police was shot in both legs by militants last night at his residence in Tral area of Pulwama district, the official said. Three policemen, who went missing after a large mob attacked a police station in Damhal Hanjipora yesterday, are still untraceable, said state Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, who is the government spokesman. One more police post was burnt by some mobs today. A police spokesman said the situation in valley remained under control today though incidents of arson and mob attacks were reported. He said it has been seen that in the garb of law and order situations, militants are firing and lobbing grenades on police and CRPF personnel. 'Militants lobbed two grenades on CRPF deployed on law and order duties in Murran Chowk resulting in injuries to some CRPF personnel,' the spokesman said. In Shopian, the vehicle of SP Shopian was fired upon and a grenade was also lobbed, he said, adding militants also fired upon the Police Post Uttressu. He said a number of police establishments and camps were also attacked during the day, resulting in damage to the property and injuries to scores of Police and CRPF personnel. 'The incidents of stone pelting were reported from Newa Pulwama, Main Town Shopian, Lasipora, Rajpora, Hall Pulwama, Litter, Tahab Pulwama, Tanchibagh Pampore, Damhal, Sangam, Zainapora, Qoimoh, Yaripora, Behibagh Kulgam, Vailoo, Warpora Sopore, Tikipora Sogam, Lalpora Kupwara, Kanyal Bagh Baramulla, Armpora Sopore, Tarzoo, Batamaloo, Qamriya Ganderbal, Soibugh Budgam, Mirgund, and Sheikpora,' he said. A mob attacked a police post at Lasipora in Pulwama, setting ablaze a police vehicle and some seized vehicles. 'Unruly mob also set on fire a single storied structure at Soibugh in Budgam district from where earlier Police Post Soibugh used to function,' the police spokesman said. The spokesman said a Fire and Emergency Services vehicle, which was responding to a distress call, was attacked by an unruly mob near Bijbehara in Anantnag. 'The call later proved to be a hoax. The vehicle was damaged in the incident'. Three youth were injured in security forces firing when a mob attacked a police post in Achabal area of Anantnag district with stones, a police official said. Another youth was injured when he was hit by firearm in Pampore town on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway today. At least six other persons were hospitalised with minor injuries at various places in south Kashmir, which as seen widespread protests following the killing of Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in Kokernag area on Friday. Four persons, who were injured in the violent clashes yesterday, succumbed to injuries during the night. As per consolidated information, over 200 people including 96 security personnel were injured in the clashes since yesterday while the mobs set on fire police installations, three civil administration offices, the house of a PDP MLA, several vehicles and targeted a BJP office. The violence continued today despite restrictions imposed in most of Kashmir Valley, including many areas of Srinagar city and four districts of south Kashmir. The separatist-sponsored strike, which was extended for two more days yesterday, also affected normal life in Kashmir. Shops, private offices, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut, while government offices and banks witnessed thin attendance, the officials said. They said public transport was completely off the roads, while cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying at few places where there were no restrictions. Educational institutions in the Valley were closed on account of the ongoing summer vacations. Universities and boards have postponed their examinations. The Chief Minister, while appealing for calm, has urged the Centre to reach out to the people of the state to resolve the issues confronting them through reconciliation efforts on internal as well as external front for ending the violence that has left behind a trail of death and destruction. She stressed the urgency for reviving the peace and reconciliation initiatives. 'The pain of Kashmiris has reached a level where the hope of peace is sure to gain substantial local support if tangible confidence building measures are taken to address the issues concerning the state and its people,' she said in a statement. She said the people of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of their age, gender, status or the political affiliation, have been suffering the terrible consequences of the pernicious turmoil over the last more than two decades. 'They now want peace and stability to take roots, and even within the prevailing circumstances there lies an opportunity to consolidate the peace efforts, if substantial steps are taken in the right direction to positively impact the ground situation,' she said. Seeking people's cooperation, she said the government is responsive to the people's needs and concerned about their problems and is working judiciously and in a transparent manner to fulfil their aspirations and expectations. 'The cabinet appealed to all political forces who have expressed concern for people's lives - be it National Conference, Congress, CPI(M) or other components of the mainstream or those people who are not in the mainstream... those who are really concerned as much we are concerned which includes leaders from the Hurriyat.... 'We appeal to them that if they want peace in the state and steps taken by government for saving lives of people succeed, we need their support also,' Akhtar told reporters while briefing on the Cabinet meeting. Describing the violence and casualties as 'unfortunate and regrettable', he said there were a number of attacks on police stations and security force camps which forced the law enforcement agencies to use weapons. 'If you see, how many police stations were set ablaze and how many camps were tried to be overrun.... As a society, we should not take protests - whether required or not - to a level where the forces are forced to use their weapons,' he said. He, however, added that if there was any instance of disproportionate use of force, it will be investigated. 'We will go to the bottom of it and find out why it happened,' he said, cautioning people not to become tools in the machinations of instigators of violence. The minister said the parents of young children also have a responsibility to keep an eye on their wards. 'If you see the footages you have, small kids who do not know why but are still having stones in their hands,' he said. The minister said if any of the injured requires to be taken out of the state for treatment, the state government will bear the expenses. He left the press conference after a reporter asked if the Mehbooba government will quit as the ruling PDP had made a similar demand when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister during the 2010 summer agitation in the Valley that left 120 persons dead.