Toll in Kashmir goes up to 14, central cabinet discusses situation (Night Lead)

August 2nd, 2010 - 12:59 am ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Srinagar/Jammu/New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) Eight people, including two 17-year-olds - one of them a girl - were killed Sunday in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district as escalating violence engulfed the Valley and the death toll since Friday reached 14. The central cabinet’s security panel discussed the situation but did not take any decision.
The law and order situation has deteriorated with violent protests rocking most cities and towns and mobs attacking police stations, police camps, vehicles on the highways and also beating up trapped security men.

In New Delhi, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) Sunday discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of renewed violence in the Valley but did not take any decisions, an official said.

“The meeting reviewed the overall scenario in the wake of the violence but did not take any decisions,” an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram briefed the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and attended among others by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is likely to visit New Delhi where he will meet Chidambaram and possibly, the prime minister, informed sources in Jammu said.

In the Valley, five people were killed and 19 others injured in an explosion inside the Khrew police post in Pulwama district after a rampaging mob entered it Sunday evening and set it afire, a police officer said in Srinagar.

Police said the explosion could have occurred because of the gas cylinders inside the police post which blew up during the fire.

Earlier, a 17-year-old girl, Afroza Bano, was killed and three others critically injured when policemen inside the Khrew police post opened fire in self-defence after being attacked by the mob.

The policemen later took shelter inside an army camp in Khrew village, sources said.

The army pressed ambulances into service to carry the injured protesters to hospitals in Srinagar.

Two people, identified as Nayeem Ahmad Shah, 26, and Rayees Ahmad Wani, 17, died and five others were critically wounded when a huge mob attacked the Pampore police station in Pulwama district.

As news of the deaths spread, protesters attacked and burnt the office-cum-residence of a revenue official in the town, looted arms from the guardroom of a local court, assaulted a police official and burnt a police vehicle, a senior police official said in Srinagar.

Five other protesters critically injured in Pampore firing are being treated in Srinagar hospitals.

The officer said hundreds of violent protesters attacked the Pampore police station, 14 km from Srinagar, in Pulwama district, with rocks and stones.

“After tear smoke shells and baton charges failed to bring the situation under control, security forces opened fire in which seven people were injured,” the officer said. They were taken to Srinagar for treatment where Shah and Wani succumbed to their injuries.

“The situation is extremely tense in Pampore town,” said a police officer.

Additional security forces have been rushed to the spot, where thousands gathered to offer funeral prayers for the victims.

Mobs also torched a police post in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town.

A fire tender was also burnt by unruly mobs in Lasjan area on the outskirts of Srinagar Sunday evening.

Reports of widespread violence and clashes between unruly mobs and the security forces have also come in from Zeewan, Nishat, Shah Mohalla Parimpora, Nowhatta, Rainawari and Khanyar in Srinagar city where mobs defied curfew and attacked security forces.

Violence has also been reported from Baramulla, Sopore, Naidkhai and Ganderbal towns in the north and Galandar, Fraistabal, Barsoo, Kadlabal, Khannabal, Pinglana, Sirigufwara and Anantnag town in the south Kashmir area.

A senior police officer said unruly mobs have blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Galandar, Frastabal, Barsoo, Kadlabal and Pampore by felling trees and erecting obstructions,

On Friday, two people each were killed in north Kashmir’s Sopore and Pattan towns when security forces opened fire on violent protesters. Two more protesters were shot dead Saturday in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Bandipora districts.

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