8 killed in Kashmir, 6 in police firing, as Omar seeks help

August 3rd, 2010 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Srinagar/New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Violence swept through the Kashmir Valley Monday, claiming the lives of eight people, including six in police firing on angry mobs, taking the toll in the new wave of violence since Friday to 22. Embattled Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met central government leaders in New Delhi and sought help, including more troopers, in tackling the worsening situation.

The latest to die in police firing was a youth, Rameez Ahmed Bhatt, in south Kashmir’s Kulgam as police fired on mobs attempting to break the curfew in the evening. Four others were critically injured in the firing.

Earlier, another youth, identified as Ashiq Hussain Bhat of Chawalgam village, was killed in firing in Kulgam.

An eight-year-old boy, Sameer Ahmed Rah, succumbed to his injuries in a Srinagar hospital following a clash between protesters and security personnel in the uptown Batmaloo area.

While residents alleged Sameer was beaten by police, police said he was injured in the stampede when security forces took action against the protesters.

The eight deaths were reported from Pulwama (two), Anantnag (two), Kulgam (one) and Kupwara (one) while a youth, critically injured Saturday in Bijbehara town, succumbed in hospital, and the eight year old died in Sringar.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Delhi Monday. He told reporters later he had sought more forces, especially troopers of the Rapid Action Force. Abdullah said political initiatives, including revoking the legal powers of the armed forces, were needed to tackle the situation, but a semblance of normalcy was necessary to make that happen.

Meanwhile, the violence in the valley showed no signs of abating as an angry mob burned down the police station in Rajpora.

Highly agitated mobs of stone pelting protesters attacked the Kakpora railway station in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and tried to torch it, police said.

“Security forces intervened to stop the mob and, after baton charges and tear smoke failed to bring the situation under control, firearms were used against the violators. One protester, identified as Muhammad Yaqoob Bhat, was killed in the security force firing and another injured,” a senior police officer told IANS on phone from Pulwama.

The injured protester has since been shifted to Srinagar for treatment, the officer said.

Another protester, identified as Bashir Ahmad Reshi, was killed at Sangam village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district where unruly mobs burnt the building of the Delhi Public School branch and the security forces opened fire to quell the mob.

Another protester, identified as Irshad Ahmad Bhat, was injured and succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

In Kralpora village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police opened fire on mobs engaging in heavy stone pelting when repeated baton charges and tear gas failed to disperse them. A youth identified as Khurshid Ahmad was killed in the firing.

In Srinagar, a youth, Tariq Ahmed, who had been admitted to the hospital after he was critically injured, later succumbed to his injuries. He had been hit by a tear smoke shell Saturday during clashes in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town.

Despite the curfew, scores of agitated, unruly mobs broke the restrictions and took to the streets in a number of areas in the city, raising anti-India slogans and engaging the deployed security forces in pitched clashes.

Mobs torched the offices of the local tehsildar, chief medical officer and chief horticulture officer and a hutment at the local railway station in central Kashmir’s Badgam district.

On Sunday, Abdullah had made a passionate appeal for restoration of calm, and appealed to both mainstream and separatist opponents to lend a helping hand in bringing the situation under control.

More than 150 people including security men and protesters have been injured during the last four days of unrelenting violence in the Valley.

Sunday saw eight deaths - three including two 17-year-olds (one of them a girl) - in police firing in Pulwama district. Later, five protesters were killed and 35 others injured when a rampaging mob entered the Khrew police post after torching it.

Explosive material stored inside the police post caught fire, resulting in a massive explosion that trapped the protesting mob under the debris of the building.

On Friday, four protesters were killed in north Kashmir, two in Pattan town and two at Amargarh in Sopore town.

Two more protesters, one in Baramulla town and one in Naidkhai town were killed Saturday when mobs went on rampage targeting police stations, government buildings and security force camps in these towns.

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