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Kashmir Killings: Six more die in Kashmir frenzy, death toll 21

The government said it was also trying to arrange flights to fly out the thousands of tourists stranded in the valley due to the violence

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Srinagar: Protesters throwing stones on police vehicle during a protest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani along with his two associates, in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI Photo by S Irfan (PTI7_9_2016_000126B)
  • Fresh firing by security forces in Pulwama district of north Kashmir led to the death of Faiyaz Ahmed Mir
  • Shabir Ahmed, 27, was shot and wounded by security forces during a street protest Irfan
  • Ahmad Malik, 17, was also killed on Sunday in firing in Pulwama after a curfew-defying mob attacked the security forces

The Jammu and Kashmir government appealed for calm on Sunday, July 10, as six more people died in unending demonstrations against the killing of a top militant leader, taking the death toll to 21 in two days in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley.

Shabir Ahmed, 27, was shot and wounded by security forces during a street protest here and died in hospital, becoming the first to be killed outside of north Kashmir since the anti-government protests erupted on Saturday, July 9.

The incident took place in Batmaloo, a known separatist hub.

Fresh firing by security forces in Pulwama district of north Kashmir led to the death of Faiyaz Ahmed Mir. Elsewhere in Pulwama, four CRPF troopers were wounded when militants hurled grenades taking advantage of a street protest.

Four other deaths were reported earlier in the day.

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A mob overran a bullet-proof police vehicle and rolled it down into the Sutlej river at Sangam in Anantnag district, drowning its constable driver while other policemen fled the scene, official sources said.

Security forces shot dead two demonstrators at Litter in Pulwama after a mob took to the streets shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans, the sources said.

Irfan Ahmad Malik, 17, was also killed on Sunday in firing in Pulwama after a curfew-defying mob attacked the security forces, a police official said.

The latest fatalities took the death toll in two days of widespread clashes between protesters and security forces in the Kashmir Valley to 21-20 demonstrators and one policeman.

Kashmir Valley erupted in anger on Saturday after security forces shot dead Burhan Wani, a top leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen, along with two of his associates on Friday. His funeral was attended by thousands.

Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com
Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com

Most protests have taken place in the northern districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian. Wani hailed from Pulwama. In most places mobs have attacked police and paramilitary forces with stones, leading to tear-gassing and firing.

Taking advantage of the outnumbered security personnel, demonstrators on Sunday set fire to the Sub Divisional Police Officer’s office in Pahalgam, a court complex in Dooru and a police post in Qazigund in Kulgam.

On Saturday, July 9, mobs torched four police stations, two police pickets and a tehsildar’s office. There were two incidents of weapon snatching and torching of several vehicles of security forces.

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Senior officials said three policemen were missing following the violence and nearly 100 security personnel were injured in the street clashes which have crippled the Kashmir Valley and halted the Amarnath Yatra.

On Sunday, the Jammu and Kashmir government urged parents of young demonstrators to tell their wards not to take part in protests that were leading to civilian casualties.

Education Minister and government spokesman Naeem Akhtar also urged the separatist Hurriyat Conference to help restore calm in the Kashmir Valley, where a separatist campaign has left many thousands dead since 1989.

The government said it was also trying to arrange flights to fly out the thousands of tourists stranded in the valley due to the violence.

In New Delhi, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, offering all possible help from New Delhi.

Senior officials expressed the hope that the situation in Kashmir would return to normal soon.

Four demonstrators, Imtiyaz Ahmad Mandoo, Mashooq Ahmad and Safeer Ahmad (all from Anantnag) and Mohammmad Altaf Rather (Pulwama) who were wounded on Saturday died on Sunday. Eleven people were killed on Saturday.

At least 100 protesters were injured on Saturday. They suffered bullet, tear smoke and pellet injuries.

Wani was buried in his native Shariefabad village on Saturday where thousands gathered defying curfew restrictions to take part in his funeral prayers.

The separatists have called for a valley-wide shut down till Monday to protest against Wani’s killing. (IANS)

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Post-Pulwama, Kashmir Helpline Gets Over 500 Calls

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism

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Pulwama, JeM, Terror, Kashmir
The Indian Army said that all the top leadership of the JeM outfit have been eliminated by security forces in the Kashmir Valley within 100 hours of the terror attack. Pixabay

With nationalist sentiments on a high after the suicide attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead, it is the Kashmiris around the country who have felt the heat. Post-February 14 Pulwama attack, a helpline for students from the state in the NCR area received over 500 calls — more than 25 calls a day.

Vidushi Kapoor, Jammu and Kashmir’s Liaison Officer in-charge of Delhi-NCR area, told IANS that although no major incident was reported, she received around 500-600 calls, especially from Dehradun, from Kashmiri students saying that they are “feeling insecure”.

“Police and college authorities were very helpful. Full security and support was provided to the students at all times,” she said. However, the charged-up environment and reports from other areas has prompted many Kashmiri students to return home, she added.

“The environment has cooled down now, but two weeks were quite upsetting… the students were really scared.”

Kapoor is one of the seven Liaison Officers appointed around the country by the state government in November 2018 for support of students from the state. After the attack, their contacts were published in newspapers and social media to enable students to contact them.

More worryingly, the situation also shows that the rift between the state’s three major regions – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh – extends to influence the perception of their people around India.Kapoor noted that the helpline had not got a single call from any students from the Jammu region.

Meanwhile, it is those from the Kashmir Valley who are squeezed between the terror outfits and the security forces.

Noting how all this takes a mental toll on its residents, Mehr (name changed), a 21-year-old living in the Kashmir Valley, said: “We are in repressive conditions. Being surrounded by security men is normal for us…livelihood, schools being suspended is normal.”

About the Pulwama attack, she said: “Violence wouldn’t solve the issue. The attack was not a good thing” but noted that people joined militancy because of “excesses”.

Taniya Tikoo, a Kashmiri Pandit living in Delhi, said it is best for both India and Pakistan if Kashmiris are allowed to have a dialogue among themselves. “It will be a win-win situation for everyone,” she said.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

People from Jammu region have a different take.

Citing the recent grenade attack in Jammu bus stand, Delhi University student Saloni, who hails from Kathua, said, “A lot of violence has shifted to Jammu (region).”

She demanded greater linkage between the state and India. “India has been investing so much… we should be integrated with the rest of the country and Articles 370, 35A (of the Constitution) should be scrapped – they have done no good so far.”

Hitu, another girl from Jammu region studying in Delhi, however, said whenever any violence takes place in Kashmir, it affects everyone including “our schools, banks, highways also close”.

She also said that people from Jammu and Ladakh region “have a general feeling of being ignored by the leaders”.

Jigmat Paljor, President of the Ladakh Student Welfare Society in Delhi, is in agreement with his Jammu counterparts – but to a point.

Paljor told IANS how his people feel alienated because with all focus on Kashmir, issues of Ladakh, which is the state’s biggest region but sparsely populated, get overlooked.

Also Read- Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

About the challenges Ladakh faces after a Pulwama-type attack, he said its economy suffers since it is almost fully dependent on tourism.

“And since Ladakh has a border with both Pakistan and China, there is always fear of tensions escalating….”

While Paljor maintains Kashmir is an integral part of the country, he wants Articles 370 and 35A to stay as his region “is very fragile and susceptible in terms of economy, culture, language, environment, from outside influence”. (IANS)