Kashmir Simmers After Another Youth Dies In Army Firing

15/04/2016 9:15 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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A Kashmiri youth is stretchered into a hospital in Srinagar on April 15, 2016, after sustaining injury in an alleged firing incident by security forces in Kupwara District of the restive Himalayan state. A teenager was killed in Indian-administered Kashmir when soldiers fired on protesters, taking the death toll to five in clashes that have continued for the fourth consecutive day, officials said. / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Kashmir continued to be on the boil on Friday with one more youth getting killed and three others being injured in firing by security forces in Kupwara district to disperse stone-pelting mobs who attacked an army camp.

Protests rocked many places in Kupwara and its adjoining areas to mark the fourth day of death of three persons who were killed in firing by security forces in Handwara town on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl.

A police official said four persons were injured when security forces opened fire on a mob which was pelting stones on an army camp at Kupwara's Nathnusa area, about 100 kms from here.

Among the injured, a youth Arif Ahmad was hurt critically and succumbed to his wounds later, sources said.

With the latest casualty, the death toll has risen to five in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

An army official said the forces opened fire only after the mobs tried to storm the camp.

"A group of protesters were pelting stones at the (army) camp but the soldiers exercised restraint. However, the situation started going out of hand as a large number of them tried to storm the camp from all directions," the official said.

The situation in the north Kashmir district has worsened following fresh casualties as more people are taking to streets against the killings.

Reports of protests were also received from parts of south Kashmir and Srinagar city but there were no casualties in these incidents, the official said.

Separatist groups including hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed ALi Shah Geelani have called for a shutdown tomorrow to protest against the fresh killing.

Kashmir University has announced postponing of all examinations scheduled for tomorrow.

A spokesman of the varsity said fresh dates for these examinations would be notified later.

The situation in the north Kashmir district has worsened following fresh casualties as more people are taking to streets against the killings.

Reports of protests were also received from parts of south Kashmir and Srinagar city but there were no casualties in these incidents, the official said.

So far four persons have been killed in Kashmir in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday asked police and other security forces to exercise restraint while dealing with protests and sought the help of civil society in restoration of normalcy in Kupwara district.

"I am in constant touch with the civil and police authorities at Handwara to ensure that normalcy is restored in the area at the earliest," said Rural Development Minister Abdul Haq Khan who is camping in the Kupwara district, where the troubled area falls.

Khan last evening visited the families of those who died in action by police and security forces in Handwara and assured them that the guilty would be punished.

Expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, the minister said while no amount of compensation would be enough to alleviate the grief of the bereaved families over the loss of their dear ones, the government would, however, try to reach out to them with whatever can be done for them.

The Minister interacted with the members of the civil society and urged them to help restore normalcy in the town, an official spokesman said today.

Khan said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has already taken up the matter at the highest level in New Delhi and action would be taken against the forces personnel who allegedly resorted "avoidable use of force against the protesters in Handwara resulting in tragic civilian casualties".

The Minister also convened a high level meeting with the civil and the police administration to review the overall situation in the area.

"The police and other security forces have been asked to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with the public protests," the spokesman said.

Kashmir, particularly Handwara town in Kupwara district, is tense over the last three days in the wake of death of three youth and a woman.

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