Kashmir Unrest: Death Toll Rises To 78


Update: Another person died after being hit by a teargas shell in neighbouring Shopian.

Srinagar: A 25-year-old man was killed in a clash with security forces on Saturday in Kashmir as fresh stone-pelting protests erupted in the valley that remained shut for the 64th day.

Police said dozens of protesters marched in a south Kashmir village defying restrictions on the assembly of four or more people. Security forces fired tear gas canisters and cane charged the protesters to disperse them.

Several protesters were injured. One of them, Sayar Ahmed Sheikh, sustained injuries and was removed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead, a police spokesperson said.

With this, the death toll rose to 77 in the ongoing turmoil that has rocked the Kashmir Valley since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Over 12,000 civilians and security personnel have been injured the unrest that began a day after Wani’s killing.

The valley has been observing a separatist-called shutdown for over two months.

On Saturday, curfew continued at many places in the valley to foil separatist-called protest rallies. But people in at least a dozen places took out rallies, shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans.

Defence sources here said the hundreds of Indian soldiers had started moving towards south Kashmir – the worst hit region in the unending cycle of violence.

The sources said the army had suspended its anti-militancy operations for over two months because of the street unrest.

The fresh deployment of soldiers is to resume the counter-terrorism operations, the sources said, adding the army had been instructed not to get into mob control unless its men come under attack by stone-throwing protesters.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh is presently on a two-day visit to the Kashmir Valley.

The sources said the chief’s visit has been timed with the decision taken by the central government that without getting directly involved in crowd control, the army should help the civil administration re-establish authority in the valley, more so in south Kashmir.