Violence and arson continued unabated in Kashmir Valley for the third day today even as National Security Adviser Ajit Doval rushed home from Kenya to join in efforts to defuse the turmoil that has claimed the lives of 23 people.
As Kashmir remained on the boil and normal life paralysed due to curfew-like restrictions and separatists-sponsored strike over the killing of young Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on Friday, mobs torched a police station in Sopore and targeted the air force airport in Pulwama along with other security installations in Kashmir. There was also no let up in stone pelting incidents.
A total of 800 additional personnel from the central paramilitary forces are also being rushed to Jammu and Kashmir. The reinforcements will be in addition to 1,200 personnel sent to assist the state police on Saturday. “Two persons have died in an incident of violence in Kulgam district yesterday and have been identified as Feroze Ahmad Mir (22) and Khursheed Ahmad Mir (38),” a police official said.
With this, the death toll in the violence has gone up to 23, including a policeman. Around 250 people were also injured.
A group of protesters pelted stones towards the air force airport at Koil in Pulawama this morning, a police official said. They also set afire the dry grass inside the airport complex.
Security forces tried to chase away the mob but the attackers were regrouping and intermittently hurling stones, he said. Stone pelting incidents were reported from Sopore, Handwara, Bandipora and Baramulla in north Kashmir, the official said.
Protesters torched a police station at fruit market in Sopore, police said, adding the men, arms and ammunitions and records were safe. Doval, who was rushed home 24 hours early by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in view of the tense situation in Kashmir, is regularly taking stock of the developments in the Valley with officials.
Doval was accompanying the Prime Minister on his four- nation tour of African countries — Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. They were due to return home tomorrow.
“If there are problems, there are solutions. We are quite confident & competent of finding solutions,” he told PTI when asked to comment on the situation in Kashmir.
The NSA did not elaborate but official sources expressed confidence the situation would be under control in 72 hours. “People of Kashmir are law-abiding and solidly against terrorism. They believe in peace, prosperity and development,” said a government official.
At the same time, government sources asserted that those holding the gun and targeting civilians or security forces would be dealt with sternly. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached out to opposition leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and discussed the prevailing situation there.
Omar later said he has told the Centre that violence in the Valley will not end until the security forces exercise maximum restraint and stop killing protesters.
A police spokesman said the situation remained “under control” though incidents of arson and mob attacks were reported at over two dozen places in the Valley. “The situation in Valley remained under control today though incidents of arson and mob attacks were reported,” the spokesman said.
He said unruly mobs set on fire police posts at Fruit mandi in Sopore in Baramulla district and Police Post Litter in Pulwama district. “A number of police establishments were also attacked by hooligans besides incidents of stone pelting reported from Trehgam, Kralpora, Villgam, Warpora, Langate and Kralgund in Kupwara district, Sheeri, Cement Bridge and Khanpora in Baramulla, Preng in Ganderbal, Hyderpora, Baghat Barzulla, Tengpora and Rambagh in Srinagar, Tahab and Prichoo in Pulwama, Yaripora in Kulgam, Sangam and Bijbehara in Anantnag, Shopian, Imamsahib and Gagran in Shopian, Popchan, Koil, Hajin and Kaloosa in Bandipora,” the spokesman said.
“The police and paramilitary personnel deployed exhibited maximum restraint while dealing with the situation,” the spokesman said.
At Zirpora in Bijbehara, the spokesman said militants fired upon police and CRPF personnel deployed for law and order duties which resulted in injuries to three persons who have been hospitalized.
Mobile telephony has been suspended in four districts of south Kashmir since Friday evening as violent protests erupted following killing of Wani in an encounter with security forces. Mobile internet services continued to remain suspended.
Strict restrictions on movement of people continued to be in place in many parts of the Valley including parts of Srinagar city, where the first death in the clashes occurred last evening.
Authorities have strengthened the presence of security forces in vulnerable areas of the city and elsewhere in the Valley to contain the protests, police said.
They said the measures have been taken to avoid any further loss of life or damage to property.
Shops, private offices, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut, while government offices and banks witnessed thin attendance, officials said.
Public transport was completely off the roads while private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying at few places in the areas where there were no restrictions, they said.
Educational institutions in the Valley were closed on account of the ongoing summer vacations, while Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) have postponed the examinations due to the prevailing situation.
Most of the separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, are either in custody or under house arrest.
Among the 23 slain people including a policeman, 6 hail from Anantnag district, 7 from Kulgam, 6 from Shopian, 3 from Pulwama and one from Srinagar city. They have been identified as Aqib Manzoor Son of Manzoor Ahmed r/o Khundroo Achabal, Muhammad Ashraf Dar son of Ghulam Muhammad r/o Halapora Kokarnag, Showkat Ahmed son Mir s/o Ali Muhammad r/o Hasanpora Bijbehara, Safeer Ahmed Bhat s/o Sanaullah r/o Chirigam Ashmuqam, Muhammad Amir Khan s/o Bashir Ahmed r/o Batapora Verinag, Ajaz Ahmed Thokar s/o Wali Muhammad r/o Siligam Mattan, Danish Ayoub s/o Muhammad Ayoub r/o Achabal Anantnag, Habibullah Malla s/o Abdul Majid r/o Brenti Achabal Anantnag, Jahangir Ahmed Ganaie s/o Mushtaq Ahmed Hasanpora Bijbehara,
Imtiyaz Ahmed Mandoo s/o Muhammad Shafi r/o Nundpora Khanabal Anantnag, Sajad Ahmed Thokar s/o Abdul Rasheed r/o Kreeri Utarsoo Anantnag, Mushtaq Ahmed Dar r/o Halpora Ajru Dooru, Abdul Hamid Mochi s/o Gul Mochi r/o Arwani Bijbehara, Muhammad Shahid Magray s/o Fayaz Ahmed r/o Larnoo Kokarnag, Ifroz Ahmed Lone s/o Muhammad Shafi r/o Mattan, Shahid Hussain Ganaie s/o Asadullah r/o Chekcholan Kulgam, Feroz Ahmed Mir s/o Ghulam Ahmed r/o Nilo Begam Kulgam, Zubair Ahmed Khandey s/o Ghulam Rasool Khandey r/o Kolpora Kulgam, Abdul Rasheed Kumar s/o Abdul Gafar r/o DH Pora Kulgam, Khurshid Ahmed Mir s/o Abdul Razak r/o Hariwath Kulgam, Yasmeena Akhtar d/o Abdul Rehman r/o DH Pora Kulgam, Mashooq Ahmed Sheikh s/o Muhammad Ramzan r/o Kralokund Kulgam, Muhammad Altaf Rather s/o Muhammad Akbar r/o Rajpora Pulwama, Irfan Ahmed Malik s/o Manzoor Ahmed Malik r/o Arwan Pulwama, Fayaz Ahmed Waza s/o Muhammad Shaban r/o Nikpora Pulwama, Manzoor Ahmed Bhat s/o Muhammad Ahsan r/o Kaigam Shopian, Muneer Ahmed Pandit s/o Gulzar Ahmed r/o Mohanpora Shopian, Shahid Gulzar s/o Gulzar Ahmed r/o Chiripora Zainpora Shopian, Azad Ahmed Thokar s/o Ghulam Muhammad r/o Pudus Shopian, Jahangir Ahmed Pandit s/o Gulzar Ahmed r/o Mohandpora Trenz Shopian, Bilal Ahmed Shan s/o Ghulam Muhammad r/o Zawoora Shopian and Shabir Ahmed Mir s/o Abdul Rehman r/o Tengpora Srinagar.
Amarnath Yatra resumes from Jammu
JAMMU, Jul 11: Amid tight security, Amarnath yatra resumed this evening from Jammu after remaining suspended for two days due to violent protests in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
“Amarnath yatra has resumed this evening from here. A batch of 3500 pilgrims left from Bagwatinagar base camp for Baltal and Pahalgam,” Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Simrandeep Singh said.
The yatra was suspended on July 9 in the wake of violence in the Valley following the killing of the top Hizbul Mujahideen commander.
Earlier in the day, pilgrims had urged the state and Central governments to not stop the yatra and arrange ‘tight security’ for them.
“We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to resume the Amarnath yatra and not get threatened by violent protests of the militant sympathisers,” Deepak Kumar, a devotee from Uttar Pradesh said.
Amid sloganeering of ‘bum bum bolay and har har mahadev’, the pilgrims had said they were ready to leave for the cave to ensure continuity of the yarta.
Till date, 1,27,358 yatris have visited the holy cave.