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Two youths killed in Kashmir, curfew continues

Friday, September 17, 2010 04:09:00 PM, IANS

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Srinagar: Violence reared its head in the Kashmir Valley again Friday, with two more protesting youth killed in firing by security forces, taking the toll of civilian deaths to 92. Indefinite curfew prevailed in all major towns for the fifth consecutive day.

Police said security forces intervened to disperse a stone pelting mob that had blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla road in Tapper village, 35 km from here, in Baramulla district.

"The mob resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security forces which opened fire to disperse the mob that had blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla highway since morning today," police said.

"One protester, identified as Gulam Rasool Bhat, 25, was declared brought dead by doctors at the nearby Sumbal sub-district hospital. Three protesters were injured in the incident," police said.

Earlier in the day, a 22-year-old protester, Fayaz Ahmad, was killed in firing by security forces during a clash between stone pelting protesters and the security forces in Gotpora village in central Badgam district.

Both the incidents, according to police, happened when curfew defying mobs attacked the security forces.

With Friday's killings of two people, the number of civilians who have lost their lives in the valley unrest has risen to 92.

The clashes erupted despite curfew being imposed in all major towns and villages for five days, prompting residents to complain of food and medicine shortage.

"Indefinite curfew shall continue today in Srinagar city and in north Kashmir's Sopore, Handwara, Kupwara, Trehgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Baramulla towns," a senior police officer said here.

"There will be no relaxation in Anantnag, Pulwama, Qoimoh, Bijbehara, Kulgam, Shopian and Pampore towns. Central Badgam, Chadura, Ompora and Humhama towns shall also remain under curfew," he added.

People living in different areas of Srinagar have begun complaining of shortages of baby food, medicines, cooking gas and food.

"We have rations for just another three days left with us. My mother, who is diabetic, needs insulin injections on a regular basis. I fear if the curfew continues like this, her life would be in danger," said a resident of Srinagar's Old City who did not want to be named.

When this was brought to the notice of a senior police officer here, he said: "We have made repeated announcements through local TV and radio stations as also through loudspeaker-mounted vehicles in areas under curfew that in any emergency, the residents must contact the station house officer (SHO) of the nearest police station.

"Clear orders have been given to SHOs to respond promptly to emergency calls. No civilian will be allowed to suffer on account of shortages of medicine and essential supplies."

The officer added: "Orders are also clear about allowing ambulances carrying the sick to hospital without causing any inconvenience to them. But I must add that we have to ensure that the passage of ambulances and other vehicles belonging to essential services is genuine."

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who spearheads the "Quit Kashmir" campaign announced by his group, has issued a protest calendar valid up to Sep 26.

As per this calendar, people have been asked to resume normal activity for two days - Sep 20 and Sep 22. Residents have also been asked to resume normal life from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.

An all-party delegation is slated to visit Kashmir Monday to get a first hand look at the situation and suggest measures to calm tensions in the volatile valley.






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