Valley on edge as 2 killed in clashes with security forces

Written by Press Trust of India | Srinagar | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 04:18am hrs
Two persons, including a nine-year-old boy, were killed on Monday in Kashmir Valley in alleged firing by the CRPF during clashes with mobs protesting against the fatal shootings involving the security forces.

Forty-eight people, including 32 policemen, were injured in the latest clashes with the security forces, official sources said. The clashes have claimed the lives of five persons since June 25 and eight in the last three weeks.

The clashes erupted as security personnel used force to prevent thousands of people from marching towards the curfew-bound Sopore township of Baramulla district in violation of prohibitory orders on the call given by moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference as part of a protest against the killing of innocent youth over the past two weeks.

The first fatal casualty of the day was reported from Sopore55 km from here where people again defied curfew imposed on Friday and staged a massive demonstration against the killing of Bilal Ahmad Wani, allegedly in the CRPF firing on Sunday evening.

The dead identified as Tajamul Ahmad Bhat (20), a resident of Wadoora, was part of a mob which allegedly tried to demolish a CRPF picket near a hospital in the town when the CRPF personnel manning the picket fired killing him on the spot, a police spokesman said.

Refuting the police statement, locals alleged that CRPF personnel fired without any provocation from the protestors who were marching towards the town to join the people protesting against the killing of Wani and two other youth who fell to the bullets of the CRPF on June 25.

While the situation was tense in Sopore, hundreds of people from different villages of Baramulla started marching towards Sopore, but were stopped by police and CRPF at Delina, 45 kms from here.

The CRPF personnel reportedly fired leaving two persons, including a minor boy injured. The nine-year-old boy identified as Tauqeer Ahmad Rather later died of his injuries in a hospital, official sources said.

The call for the march to Sopore was given by the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, but all the senior leaders of the separatist amalgamincluding its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooqwere placed under house arrest by the authorities in a bid to prevent the march, fearing large scale violence.

In addition, several top separatist leaders, including JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik, National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Muslim Khawateen Markaz chief Yasmeen Raja, were detained by police.

The state government, meanwhile, appointed Mohammed Shafi Khan as the special commissioner for Sopore and Pankaj Saxena as the special inspector general to defuse the tense situation in the apple town in north Kashmir.

Soon after the body of Wani was handed over to his kins, locals in Sopore came out in large numbers and staged a demonstration throughout the night against the killing.

The body was taken in a procession to different localities in the town and was laid to rest at the local martyrs' graveyard this morning amid massive protests.

Official sources said policemen fired in air when the protestors reached Sopores main chowk demanding withdrawal of CRPF camps from the town, which had witnessed surge in militancy-related violence since December last year.