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Curfew prevails in Kashmir, so does violence

By Mukhtar Ahmad
August 04, 2010 21:12 IST

One more youth, who was critically injured on Friday last in firing by security forces in the Chanpora locality of Srinagar, succumbed to injuries in the hospital even as mobs continued to defy curfew restrictions in the Jammu and Kashmir capital.

Iqbal Ahmad Khan (18) had received a critical bullet injury on his head during protests in Chanpora and had been admitted to the Soura Medical Institute where after an operation on Friday he had been put on the life support system.

Khan's injury had triggered protests and violence across the Valley on Friday in which so far 28 persons, mostly youth, have been killed and 180 others, including police and paramilitary personnel, wounded.

Security forces on Wednesday enforced strict curfew restrictions in the summer capital Srinagar and other towns.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, immediately after his release from detention, appealed to people to keep their protests peaceful and abjure violence.

He, however, asserted that 'people here should be seen as the oppressed and not as oppressors'.

"Violence and arson have no place in our struggle," he said.

Since early Wednesday morning, loudspeaker-fitted police jeeps were making rounds in various parts of the city warning residents to stay indoors and not to violate the round-the-clock curfew, which is in force without a break since Friday.

However, mobs defied curfew

restrictions in some parts of Srinagar and staged protests against the recent alleged human rights violations.

Thousands of people marched to south Kashmir's Khrew town where a peaceful rally was held in the afternoon.

Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, people, using all modes of transport available, reached the town where seven persons, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed on Sunday.

While the girl was killed in the police firing, six protestors died in a powerful explosion inside a police camp, which was torched by an unruly mob. State authorities withdrew police and Central Reserve Police Force troopers from the town in order to avoid more confrontations between the protestors and the security forces.

Mobs in south Kashmir's Pampore town damaged a passing vehicle of the state armed police and also tried to manhandle a ruling National Conference leader who managed to escape unhurt after his guards fired warning shots in the air.

An angry mob tried to torch the house of a deputy superintendent of police in south Kashmir's Kulgam town in the afternoon, but timely intervention by the security forces foiled the attempt.

One person, who was injured in the police firing, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Reports of stone pelting incidents and curfew defiance have come from north Kashmir's Sopore, Safapora, Handwara towns and south Kashmir's Shopian town where mobs torched government buildings and one vehicle.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar