Sporadic clashes in Kashmir, 3 injured; CM reviews situation
Sporadic incidents of clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces were reported from a number of places in Kashmir on Thursday even as curfew-like restrictions continued for the second day and mobile internet services were suspended in some areas in view of tension.
A policeman and two civilians were injured in violence and clashes in different parts of the Valley.
As tension prevailed in Kashmir which saw death of four civilians since Tuesday in clashes with security forces, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti held a meeting with top police and intelligence officials of the state here to review the situation and directed that no harm should come to civilians while dealing with law and order issues.
Mehbooba, who arrived here from Delhi after a three-day visit, will be camping in the Summer capital of the state to monitor the law and order situation “as long as necessary”, official sources said.
In fresh clashes on Thursday, a Constable Bilal Ahmad was injured after being hit in the face by a stone hurled by protestors in Magam area of Handwara town, which is about 70 kms from here, a police official said.
The cop was shifted to a hospital here for treatment.
A civilian was also injured earlier at the same place when he was hit by a teargas shell in the left leg, the official said, adding he was admitted to a local hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.
Handwara in Kupwara district is the epicentre of the ongoing unrest that was triggered following allegations of molestation of a college girl on Tuesday.
A cab driver was injured in a stone-pelting incident in Kulgam, the official said.
Reports of stone-pelting were also received from various areas of Srinagar city but no casualties were reported in these incidents, the official added. The incidents occurred even though curfew-like restrictions continued for the second day in Kupwara town, Kralgund, Handwara, Magam and Langate areas in north Kashmir.
Four civilians, including a woman, died on Tuesday and yesterday in clashes between protesters and security forces in Kupwara district where Handwara falls.
Restrictions also continued in six police station areas of Srinagar city, the official said.
Mobile internet services were also suspended in north Kashmir areas to curb the menace of rumour mongering, the official said.
Separatist groups had also given a call for strike since yesterday due to which markets remained closed and public transport was off the roads.
Soon after arrival here, Mehbooba met top police and intelligence officials of the state including Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar at her official residence.
“The Chief Minister directed the police officials to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and ensure that civilians are not harmed while dealing with law and order situations,” official sources said.
The state government also sought the help of civil society in restoration of normalcy in Kupwara district where Rural Development Minister Abdul Haq Khan is camping to monitor the situation.
“I am in constant touch with the civil and police authorities at Handwara to ensure that normalcy is restored in the area at the earliest,” he said.
Khan last evening visited the families of those who died in action by police and security forces in Handwara and assured them that the guilty would be punished.
Expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, the minister said while no amount of compensation would be enough to alleviate the grief of the bereaved families over the loss of their dear ones, the government would, however, try to reach out to them with whatever can be done for them.