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Kashmir Unrest: 3 more deaths deepen strife in Valley

With this, the death toll in the Valley has reached around 60 since the unrest began following popular militant commander Burhan Wani’s death on July 8


Srinagar : Tempers ran high in Srinagar's old city after a guard at an ATM booth was found dead, with hundreds of pellets fired from close range

Over the past 24 hours, three more youth have been killed in the continuing unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, which has deepened the ongoing turmoil in the state.

Farooq Ahmad, a youth of Naroo Takya area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district died after being hit by a bullet during clashes with the government forces.

Another youth of Kreeri Wagoora in Baramulla district died of pellet injuries he had sustained during clashes in the Batpora area of Sopore. He has been identified as Daanish Rasool Mir.

The third person, identified as Muhammad Maqbool Wagay of Chadoora, was similarly killed in the police firing on the protesters. He was declared as ‘brought dead’ at Primary Health Centre of the area. This has taken the toll to around 60 in the Valley since July 8. Scores of others have been been injured in the clashes, many again being hit by the pellets in the eyes.

Over 30 people were injured at Chadoora. Most of the injured suffered pellet injuries. Five among the injured have been shifted to Srinagar for advanced treatment.

Twenty persons were hurt in clashes in Kralpora, Zurhama and Aavura villages of Kupwara in north Kashmir. Hospital staff has revealed that 15 persons were hit by pellets, with seven of them receiving injury in their eyes.

Already, more than a 100 youth stare at a partial or complete loss of their vision. And another 50 look set to be maimed for the rest of their lives. This has created a grim state of affairs in the Valley. The situation far from showing any signs of improvement is getting worse by the day.

Since the unrest began following the popular militant commander Burhan’s death on July 8, the protests have spread far and wide, enveloping entire Kashmir in their fold.

Two days ago, ATM guard Riyaz Ahmad Shah’s nocturnal murder in downtown Srinagar shocked the Valley. Shah was killed near the city’s SMHS hospital in mysterious circumstances. However, there is now no doubt as to the identity of the killers. An autopsy on Shah revealed that he had received a burst of pellets in his stomach, which points fingers towards either J&K Police or CRPF which carry pellet guns.

Similarly on August 2, one Farooq Ahmad Kuchay was shot dead by the guard of the Assistant Development Commissioner Babu Ram when his vehicle was stopped by a crowd near Lethpora on Srinagar-Jammu highway protesting against the police assault on worshippers at a local mosque.

The government has failed to check the killings despite the unprecedented security measures. Or for that matter the use of the pellet guns. Despite the call by the Home Minister Rajnath Singh to avoid their use, the weapon has continued to be deployed.

A day after Singh called for the maximum restraint on his visit to the state and advised the avoidance of the pellet guns, CRPF DG K Durga Prasad defended the weapon as “most non-lethal”. Prasad was later backed in his assertion by the Army. The Northern Command Chief Lieutenant General D S Hooda said there is a requirement of non-lethal weaponry, adding that pellet guns are classified as part of this weaponry.

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