Kashmir: Tension Intensifies After 7 Civilians Killed In Firing By Security Forces On Protesters
Around seven civilians were killed and 40 were reportedly injured after government soldiers fired at the protesters in Southern Kashmir, as reported by The Independent. The incident took place in the Pulwama region, after the army was tipped off about militants hiding in the orchard. The clash took place in the early hours of December 15, when the militants open fired at the army, the CRPF and the police.
During the exchange of bullets, three militants were knocked down in the Sirnoo village. An Army jawan was also got martyred in the violence. The soldier was later identified as Kishan Singh Rajput, who hailed from Rajasthan. Several civilians were thrashed by the security forces.
Separatists call for Bandh
The incident had attracted a plethora of criticism from various parts of the country. Separatist leadership has declared a three-day bandh to condemn the incident, as reported by Times Now. Separatists leaders have asked people to march to the Chinar Corps headquarters on Monday.
From today onwards for three days mourning and complete protest strike will be observed all across
— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) December 15, 2018
One of the civilian killed in the shootout had returned from Indonesia a month ago. Abid Hussain Lone, who had returned to the valley with his three-year-old baby and wife was killed when he was standing outside his residence. Amir Ahmed, Suhail Ahmad, Liyaqat Dar, and Shabaaz were other civilians who were killed during the clash. It is reported that two bodies in the hospital are yet to be identified. 14-year-old Amir Ahmad was the youngest among those killed. Amir is said to be a cricket enthusiast who received a bullet wound to his head when the forces opened fire. 17-year-old Liyaqat Dar’s family is still reeling under shock.
Leaders of the state question Governor-led administration
Reacting to the incident, leaders of the state started hurling mud at the governor. Omar Abdullah chose Twitter to express his deep concerns regarding the condition of the valley. In a tweet, he referred the weekend as “another blood-soaked weekend in Kashmir”.
Another blood soaked weekend in Kashmir. 6 protestors killed, 1 solider killed in the line of duty. Together with the 3 militants from this morning’s encounter that’s 10 dead. Reports of many injured at the encounter site. What a horrible day!
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 15, 2018
The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and president of PDP, Mehbooba Mufti pummeled the Governor for the recurring violence. She also took to twitter to state that a country will never win if it kills its own civilians.
The ominous gun battle triggered people to protests against the ‘Indian rule’. Over hundreds marched, shouting pro-militant slogans. The Indian Army expressed condolence over the incident and stated that an army personnel was martyred and several others were critically injured.
The Indian Army along with the police patrolled vehemently to keep a check on the anti-India protests. Indian troops have asked people not to march towards the headquarter. The forces have locked down various roads that lead to India’s military garrison in Srinagar.
Shabir Ahmed, who is a local resident said that it seemed as if the Army man were practising their guns by firing at the civilians. Eyewitnesses mentioned that the deceased had bullet injuries in chest and head. Soon after the news regarding the civilians death broke, conflicts erupted in neighbouring villages.
While police said the civilians were killed when they came “dangerously close” to the site of the encounter, eyewitnesses said they were killed more than an hour after the gunfight, reported The Indian Express.
In order to attrit the situation, internet services were put down in Pulwama. Trains between Bannihal town and Kashmir Valley have been cancelled.