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JK: 2 protestors killed, but air service resumes

Last updated on: September 17, 2010 14:52 IST

Two persons were killed and eight others injured when security forces opened fire to quell stone pelting mobs in curfew bound Kashmir valley on Friday.
A senior police officer said mobs pelted stones at a convoy of security forces in Gotpora in central Kashmir's Budgam district, evoking retaliatory fire which left four injured, one of whom identified as Fayaz Ahmad Dar, succumbed in the hospital in Srinagar.
The condition of another injured person, who was shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment, is stated to be critical.
In north Kashmir's Tappar village, on the Srinagar Muzaffarabad road in Baramulla district, security forces opened fire after mobs pelted stones at passing vehicles, injuring five people.
The mobs had defied curfew in the village and indulged in stone pelting on the security force's vehicles. The injured were rushed to the hospital, where 25-year old Ghulam Rasool succumbed to his injuries.
Security forces also opened fire at stone pelting mobs, who defied curfew in Chichloora village on Srinagar Gulmarg road, injuring a civilian who was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The death toll in the ongoing Kashmir unrest since June 11 has now gone up to 93, while hundreds have been injured, scores of them critically.
Meanwhile a round-the-clock curfew continued without any break in Srinagar and across the valley. Residents of Srinagar are facing an acute shortage of essential commodities including baby food, medicines and vegetables.

Another person identified as Mohammad Shafi was hit by a bullet in his leg when security forces allegedly opened fire after being attacked by a stone-pelting mob at Chichloora-Magam on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road, sources said.

They protestors also defied curfew at Palhallan, Goshbagh-Sumbal in Baramulla district and Batmaloo in central Srinagar. Curfew was being strictly implemented across the valley in order to thwart the call for a march to various violence-hit areas given by hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference, which is spearheading the ongoing agitation.

The Geelani-led Hurriyat has asked people from north Kashmir to march to Palhallan in Baramulla district, while the residents of Ganderbal, Budgam and Srinagar were asked to head to Humhama area of Budgam.

The residents of south Kashmir were asked to march to Pampore town in Pulwama district, while the residents of Kupwara were asked to hold peaceful protests at the district headquarters against the recent killings.

Pampore, Humhama and Palhallan have been the worst affected areas in the clashes between the protestors and security forces over the last fortnight and most of the deaths have occurred in these areas. Curfew was imposed in Sriangar on Sunday and was extended to the entire Kashmir valley the next day following large scale violence and massive protests.

Meanwhile, flights to and from Srinagar resumed on Friday after remaining suspended for three days, as the international airport in Srinagar was handed over to civil aviation authorities following completion of runway resurfacing work.

In view of the strict curfew, authorities have directed security forces to treat the air tickets as curfew passes for passengers flying in and out of the valley. To ensure hassle-free travel for the passengers, the authorities had asked them to report to the Tourist Reception Centre in the city and not to head to the airport directly.

The Srinagar airport was closed for resurfacing, repair and upgradation on September 3 and subsequently the air traffic was diverted to Awantipora airbase, 32km from Srinagar. The government suspended the air operations for three days from the airbase beginning Tuesday following complaints that airlines were canceling flights randomly without intimating the passengers.

Airlines officials had cited the prevailing law and order situation in the valley as the reason for flight cancellations.

With inputs from PTI

Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar