Four protesters, including two teenagers, were killed Monday in
firing by security forces - the first fatalities after a week of
relative peace - and more then 15 others injured during clashes in
north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
With these deaths, the toll in the ongoing unrest in the Valley
since June 11 has risen to 69.
An inquiry has been ordered and ammunition of the deployed
security personnel will be checked to fix responsibility and
action taken against those guilty, police announced Monday
Police here said a huge mob of stone-pelting protesters blocked
the Srinagar-Muzafarrabad highway at Palhalan village, 35 km from
"As the security forces intervened to clear the highway, the mob
indulged in violence injuring many security men. After
baton-charges and lobbing of tear smoke shells failed to bring the
situation under control, the security men opened fire," a senior
police officer said.
Four protesters identified as Showkat Ahmad Bhat, 16, Muhammad
Ramzan Mir, 35, Noor-ud-Din Tantray, 27, and Mudasir Ahmad Mir,
18, died in the firing
Fifteen other protesters injured in the incident have been
admitted to hospitals in Srinagar for specialized treatment.
Doctors attending to the injured in the hospitals in Srinagar said
some of them had sustained critical gunshot wounds and efforts
were on to save their lives.
"Some of the injured have been brought in very critical
condition," an attending doctor said here.
Hundreds of locals came out of their homes in Palhalan and
adjacent areas after hearing about the incident and additional
deployments of police and paramilitary have been rushed to the
area to maintain law and order there.
With Monday's deaths, tension once again gripped the Valley where
some modicum of normalcy had been witnessed during the last one
week despite separatist-called protest shutdowns.
A police press release issued here Monday evening said: "Senior
police officers have taken a serious view of the firing and an
enquiry has been initiated. Ammunition of the policemen is being
checked to fix the responsibility. Those found involved shall be
proceeded against strictly according to law without any favour."
Monday's unfortunate incident happened on a day Muslims throughout
the Valley were preparing to celebrate Shab-e-Qadr, the holiest
night according to Muslim belief.
It has also come barely three days before the Eid festival which
falls due around Sep 11 after the end of Ramadan, the month of
fasting and penance observed by Muslims the world over.
Incidents of stone-pelting were also reported from south Kashmir's
Pampore and Awantipore towns and Bohri Kadal and S.D. Colony in
Batamaloo area of Srinagar.