With Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressing “deep shock at the killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani,” and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin and Lashkar-e-Tayeba founder Hafiz Saeed holding a small prayer meeting, the killing of Wani and its unfolding fallout has taken a bigger dimension.
Meanwhile, the number of the protesters killed in the clashes so far has risen up to 31 including a police man killed by a mob yesterday. Another youth Ajaz Nazir Latoo who was injured in firing at Zirpora Bijbehara succumbed to injuries at a Srinagar hospital during night.
“The Prime Minister of Pakistan has expressed his deep shock at the killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and many other civilians by the Indian military and paramilitary forces,” Sharif’s office said in the statement.
Saeed and Salahuddin addressed a gathering of Hizbul supporters from a makeshift stage decorated with Wani’s posters. Later Saeed tweeted that the absentia prayers for Wani will be organized on Friday to express solidarity “with the people of Kashmir”.
“Kashmir runs in our blood, will use every means to help our brothers. We are together with Kashmiris in their freedom struggle,” Saeed tweeted.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who returned from his four nation tour of the Africa chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation in the Valley.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Monday held a meeting to review the law and order situation in Kashmir. The meeting was attended by senior security officials, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and finance minister Arun Jaitley. Doval who was accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his African tour cut short his visit due to the situation in Kashmir.
In view of the Pakistan PM’s statement and the meeting of Salahuddin and Hafiz Saeed, New Delhi is waking up to Islamabad’s role in the ongoing trouble in Kashmir.
Already, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh has said that the government has “enough information about Pakistan’s role in aiding and abetting trouble in the Kashmir region”.
However, Singh didn’t elaborate as to how Islamabad was stoking unrest which since Wani’s killing has engulfed entire Kashmir. Security agencies are saying that the separatist groups had already planned for Wani’s death.
But this is an explanation that is being ridiculed by civil society in Kashmir who say that by blaming Pakistan, government was trying to cover the disproportionate use of force against the protesters.
Centre has rushed 800 more additional central paramilitary forces to the state in the wake of continuing violent protests across Kashmir. The reinforcements are in addition to 1,200 personnel sent on Saturday. About 60 battalions of the CRPF, accounting sixty thousand personnel, are already in Valley as part of the counter-insurgency grid.
These developments frame the constantly deteriorating situation in the state with increasing loss of lives only fanning more protests. At least 16 persons were injured, three of them critically, at Ladiyar Tral in south Kashmir when CRPF opened fire to disperse the protesters, who reportedly attacked the CRPF camp in the area.
A police post was set ablaze in North Kashmir’s Sopore and a munsiff court was torched in Dooru in South Kashmir. A group of the youth from Padgampora and Malangpora marched towards Awantipora air base in defiance of the curfew and pelted stones. At Zirpora in Bijbehara, two persons were injured when forces fired at the people who hit the streets defying the curfew.
J&K Police statement today reported stone throwing throughout the Valley, even in far-flung areas like Langate in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Protests were also reported from Hajin, once Valley’s counter-insurgency heartland where in the nineties sections of militants had joined Army to fight separatist militants.
Other areas which witnessed protests include Warpora, Kralgund, Kaloosa, Prichoo, Sheeri, Khanpora, Preng, Koil, Fruitmandi Sopore, Popchan, Hyderpora, Baghat Barzulla, Tengpora, Rambagh, Cement Bridge Baramulla etc.
According to an estimate more than 800 people are injured, many of them critically, which could substantially push up the mortality figures.
Meanwhile, separatist groups have extended shutdown for two more days. In a joint statement they termed government’s appeal for help in restoration of normalcy “as a childish and illogical”.
“The Indian forces altogether including the JK police and their actions are responsible for the current situation,” the statement read adding the situation arising in the hospitals of the Valley is scary. “The Indian forces are targeting the youth by firing bullets into heads and chests. The state government should advice their masters in New Delhi to end the genocide and not to resort to the targeted killings of innocent youth”.