Burhan Wani’s killing: Youth dies in fresh clashes in Kashmir; death toll rises to 16

A youth was today killed in fresh clashes between locals, protesting the gunning down of Hizbul Mujhaideen poster boy Burhan Wani, and security forces in Pulwama district, taking the death toll to 16 in the violence which also left 200 people injured.

An 18-year-old youth was critically injured in clashes between protestors and security forces at Newa in Pulwama this morning, a police official said. Irfan Ahmad Malik was rushed to SMHS hospital here but succumbed to his injuries, he said.
Four persons who were injured in the violent clashes yesterday succumbed to injuries during the night, the official said. Violent protests broke out in most parts of Kashmir — with the south districts of Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam being the worst hit.

As per consolidated information available now, more than 200 persons, including 96 security personnel, were injured in the day long clashes during which the mobs set on fire three police installations, three civil administration offices, the house of a PDP MLA, several vehicles and targeted a BJP office.

Curfew imposed
Curfew-like restrictions continued in parts of Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure for the second day on Sunday. Normal life across Valley remained paralysed due to a strike called by separatist groups to protest the killings.

Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, continue to be under house arrest while Mohammad Yasin Malik is also under preventive detention.

Amarnath Yatra, which was suspended from Jammu yesterday, also remained suspended.

Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, and two others were killed on Friday when security forces retaliated after being fired upon by the trio from a house in which they were hiding. Mobile internet services were suspended and and a curfew was imposed across the Valley to contain the fallout of Wani’s killing.

Mehbooba’s response
Meanwhile in a statement issued here late last night, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged the Centre to reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the issues confronting the state through reconciliation efforts on internal as well as external front for ending the violence that has left behind a trail of death and destruction.

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, the Chief Minister said.

Mehbooba 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.

The Chief Minister stressed on the need and urgency for reviving the peace and reconciliation initiatives, both on the internal and external fronts. Seeking people’s cooperation in stabilising peace, Mehbooba 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.

Flagging the problem of unemployment as a matter of grave concern, she said every section of the society including individuals, institutions and organisations, have to be brought together in a spirit of creative enterprise to widen the economic and employment space for the State’s youth and channelise their energies productively.

While reacting to the civilian deaths in security forces’ firing yesterday, Mehbooba had asked security forces to follow the standard operating procedures for crowd control and avoid disproportionate use of force.

“Disproportionate use of force for crowd control results in loss of precious lives and grave injuries which should be avoided at all costs,” she said asking the police and the paramilitary forces to use Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with protesters to avoid loss of precious human lives or injuries.

Urging for calm, Mehbooba sought people’s cooperation in restoration of normalcy in the Valley.

Violence only brings miseries to the people and tragedies for the victim families, she said.

The Chief Minister appealed to the people, especially the youth not to fall prey to the machinations of the vested interests, who play politics over the bodies of Kashmiris.