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More clashes in Kashmir, Death toll climbs to 32; Ajit Doval rushes back
Tuesday July 12, 2016 7:49 AM, Agencies

Amid recurring clashes in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley, three injured protesters died in hospitals here on Monday, taking the death toll to 32 in three days of bloodshed following the killing of a top militant that has sparked fresh India-Pakistan tensions.

In yet another development, National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval has rushed home from Kenya to join in efforts to defuse the turmoil that has claimed the lives of 32 people.

As Kashmir remained on the boil and normal life paralysed due to curfew-like restrictions and separatists-sponsored strike over the killing of young Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on Friday, mobs torched a police station in Sopore and targeted the air force airport in Pulwama along with other security installations in Kashmir. There was also no let up in stone pelting incidents.

A total of 800 additional personnel from the central paramilitary forces are also being rushed to Jammu and Kashmir. The reinforcements will be in addition to 1,200 personnel sent to assist the state police on Saturday.

"Two persons have died in an incident of violence in Kulgam district yesterday and have been identified as Feroze Ahmad Mir (22) and Khursheed Ahmad Mir (38)," a police official said.

At least 31 civilians and a police driver have been killed in clashes between the security forces and angry young demonstrators across the Kashmir Valley since Saturday, various informed sources told IANS. But police put the death toll at 23.

There were no fresh deaths on Monday. But the sources said nine more casualties were added to the toll after at least three people succumbed to injuries and five who had died earlier were counted on Friday.

Clashes, however, raged on in many parts of the valley as young men armed with rocks defied prohibitory orders to hurl stones at police and paramilitary pickets.

Security forces tried to chase away the mob but the attackers were regrouping and intermittently hurling stones, he said.

Bijbehara, Mehbooba Mufti's hometown, some 40 km from here towards the south of the valley, was the latest to be consumed by the clashes, police sources told IANS.

Sources in Srinagar's S.M.H.S. Hospital said two civilians with bullet injuries were admitted on Monday afternoon and both were from Bijbehara.

"One of them was hit in the stomach and other in his left thigh," a doctor told IANS requesting anonymity.

Doval, who was rushed home 24 hours early by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in view of the tense situation in Kashmir, is regularly taking stock of the developments in the Valley with officials.

Doval was accompanying the Prime Minister on his four- nation tour of African countries -- Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. They were due to return home tomorrow.

"If there are problems, there are solutions. We are quite confident & competent of finding solutions," he told PTI when asked to comment on the situation in Kashmir.

The NSA did not elaborate but official sources expressed confidence the situation would be under control in 72 hours.

"People of Kashmir are law-abiding and solidly against terrorism. They believe in peace, prosperity and development," said a government official.

At the same time, government sources asserted that those holding the gun and targeting civilians or security forces would be dealt with sternly.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached out to opposition leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and discussed the prevailing situation there.

Omar later said he has told the Centre that violence in the Valley will not end until the security forces exercise maximum restraint and stop killing protesters.

In New Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said Pakistan should worry more about human rights violations in the "occupied Kashmir" -- Indian euphemism from Pakistani Kashmir than in the valley.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached out to political leaders, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and discussed the Kashmir situation. He also spoke to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.



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