Asif Iqbal/Suhail Khan
Srinagar: One more youngster was killed and dozens were injured when government forces opened fire on them in Natnoosa village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district where four civilians have already been killed following protests over an alleged molestation attempt on Tuesday this week.
Eyewitnesses told that amid a complete shutdown and curfew, dozens of people staged massive protests in various parts of Kupwara and Handwara areas today after Friday prayers against civilian killings. During one such protest at Natnoosa village, protesters resorted to stone-pelting on an army camp belonging to 47 RR.
“As the stone-pelting was underway, the army personnel resorted to firing directly on protesters and injure four persons, one of them critically,” the eyewitnesses said. The critically injured youth was identified as Arif Hussain Dar of Aawora Kupwara who succumbed minutes after being shot.
The three other youths have been identified as Wajid Ahmad Bhat, Javaid Mochi and Fazil Lone. The three were shifted to Srinagar where they are being treated upon. According to sources, Fazil Lone is an Imam by profession and ‘Hafiz Quran’.
Soon after the news broke about the death of another youth, hundreds of people took to streets in scores of Kupwara and Handwara areas and staged massive anti-India and pro-freedom protests. The protesters resorted to heavy stone pelting on forces and the forces in return fired teargas.
According to GNS, a youth namely Showkat Ahmad Gani, son of Abdul Jabbar, resident of Kalaroos Kupwara was critically injured after he was hit by a forces teargas shell in his head at Kupwara Town during protests. The injured youth is being operated upon but his condition continues to remain critical. Another youth namely Sajad Ahmad Bhat, son of Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, is also injured as he was shot in legs at Hirri at Kupwara.
Six more persons were injured in teargas shelling at Kralgund Kupwara this evening as clashes raged against the killings. Several policemen were injured at Lalpora in clashes this evening.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in funeral of Arif and he was laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans.
Army claimed that its troopers were forced to open even as it expressed ‘regret’ over the death of the youth from Natnusa.
“Our post was surrounded by heavy mob and they stormed our camp as result of which, our soldiers fired in self defence,” a spokesman of army told GNS.
“Four miscreants were injured and one of them regrettably lost life,” the spokesman added.
Earlier after Friday prayers, protests and clashes broke out at Radbugh, Drugmulla, Regipora, Suhipora, Main Chowk Kupwara, Heeri, Trehgam, Kunanposhpora, Cherkote, Sogam, Lalpora anb Aawura. The protesters staged anti-India and pro-freedom protests and clashed with forces. At least 12 persons were injured in these clashes.
Meanwhile, a police spokesperson said: “There were massive violent protests in Handwara and Kupwara areas today. The mobs attacked the police and security force establishments and deployments.”
“More than 40 police men and security force men were injured. Despite severe provocations the deployment on ground exercised maximum restraint. However at one place Natnusa in Kupwara the mob tried to enter the forces camp and the Army had to resort to firing in which one person lost his life,” the spokesperson added.
Asif Iqbal/Suhail Khan