A youth was killed and over 30 were injured on Friday in clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces in Kashmir where curfew was imposed in some parts of Srinagar district and restrictions were in place elsewhere in the valley in view of separatist call for protests. A 22-year-old youth Wasim Ahmad Lone died when security forces opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob in Nadihal area on Sopore-Kupwara road in Baramulla district, police said.
The incident occurred when a mob targeted a convoy of security forces by pelting stones as it was on its way from Sopore to Kupwara, a police official said. To disperse the mob, the security forces opened fire in which Lone was injured in the chest. He was rushed to district hospital Baramulla but the doctors declared him ‘brought dead’, the official said.
The local residents, however, claimed that Lone was not part of the protesters and was harvesting paddy in his field when the army opened fire. The police official said the law enforcing agencies were trying to restore order in the area. Following the death, fresh protests broke out in Nadihal and adjoining areas, the police official said.
With this death, the toll in the ongoing unrest, which began after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on 8 July, has risen to 83. Clashes between security forces and stone-pelting mobs were also reported from several other areas of the valley in which at least 30 people were injured. These places included Chrar-e-Sharief in Budgam district and Old Barzulla area of Srinagar, the official said.
Authorities had imposed curfew in parts of Srinagar in view of the apprehensions of law and order problems after Friday congregational prayers, even as normal life remained affected in the Valley for the 77th straight day. Curfew was imposed in five police station areas of downtown Srinagar and Batamaloo and Maisuma areas in the uptown city, the official said. He said the curbs on the movement of people were imposed as there were apprehensions of law and order problems in view of the Friday congregational prayers.
Restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc remained in force in rest of the Valley. The separatists, who are spearheading the current agitation in the Valley, have extended the protest programme till 29 September but have announced periods of relaxation in the strike on some days, unlike the previous week’s protest programme where there was no relaxation.
They had called for marches to various tehsil headquarters across the Valley on Friday. Due to the restrictions and separatist-sponsored strike, shops, business establishments and petrol pumps continued to remain shut in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley, while public transport was off the roads.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions also continued to remain shut. Mobile internet services also remained suspended, while the outgoing calls on prepaid numbers continued to remain barred across the Valley.