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Massive protests in Kashmir

Shujaat Bukhari

One killed, 90 injured as police clash with protesters

— Photo: Nissar Ahmad

People protest against killing of a youth at Handwara in Kupwara district on Sunday.

HANDWARA/MAGAM: For the second consecutive day thousands of people held massive demonstrations, in Magam town in central Kashmir and Kakroosa village, north Kashmir, to protest against the killing of two civilians in these areas . Nearly 90 people were injured in pitched battles while one person died of injuries.

Trouble erupted in Kakroosa in Handwara on Saturday evening when residents stopped a police team, suspecting them to set houses on fire. One of the residents Mohammad Maqbool told The Hindu:“ Men from Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operations Group, dressed in civilian clothes, descended from a vehicle and roamed in a suspicious manner. They divided themselves into groups.

“When we caught hold of two, they confessed that they are being rewarded for torching of houses by higher ups,” he said adding “but they [policemen headed by an SI] got irritated and opened indiscriminate firing on us.” The injured were rushed to hospital. However, one of them succumbed to injuries in Srinagar and when his body was brought back it led to strong protests.

The police and CRPF cordoned off the area.

Police also used tear smoke shells to disperse the crowd . At least 10 policemen, including DSP Tahir Rehman, and 40 civilians, including nine women, were injured. The situation remained tense even as police rescued the two SPOs .

Handwara SP Haseeb Mughal told The Hindu that the police was not involved in any attempt of arson.

He said that two rifles of the SPOs were still missing. “One of the SPO is critical. We observed complete restraint in dealing with situation,” Mr. Mughal said.

DIG north Kashmir range B. Sirinivas said that it was false propaganda to malign the police. “In fact militants do not want the security forces and police to launch operation against them as they are trapped in civilian areas,” Mr. Sirinivas said adding “but we will not allow people to take law into their hands”.

Magam still tense

Meanwhile the situation in Magam continued to be tense after a civilian was killed in police firing on Saturday . The police had opened fire on people who had taken to the streets demanding the setting up of a degree college. One civilian was killed.

On Sunday, people tried to attack the office of the Sub Divisional Police Officer. However, police thwarted the attempt. At least 40 people, including 20 policemen, were injured in clashes that continued throughout the day.

Protestors also torched an ambulance . All roads leading to Magam were sealed on Sunday while the whole area observed a complete shutdown. SSP Budgam Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari and Deputy Commissioner Budgam Farooq Reenzoo are camping in Magam to monitor the situation.

JKLF chief Yasin Malik and PDP leader Iftikhar Ansari visited the town.

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