Srinagar: The death toll in the clashes between protesters and security forces in Kashmir mounted to 23, as normal life remained paralysed for the third day today in the Valley due to curfew-like restrictions and separatists- sponsored strike in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on Friday.
"Two persons have died in an incident of violence in Kulgam district yesterday and have been identified as Feroze Ahmad Mir (22) and Khursheed Ahmad Mir (38)," a police official said. He said the information about the death of these youth was not available yesterday due "inadequate" communication facilities in south Kashmir district.
Mobile telephony has been suspended in the four districts of south Kashmir since Friday evening as violent protests erupted following killing of Wani in an encounter with security forces. With these, the death toll in the clashes between protesters and security forces has gone up to 23, including a policeman. More than 250 persons have been injured in the violence and the situation continues to be tense across the Valley.
Curfew-like restrictions continued to be in place in many parts of the Valley including parts of Srinagar city, where the first death in the clashes occurred last evening. Authorities have strengthened the presence of security forces in vulnerable areas of the city and elsewhere in the Valley to contain the protests, a police official said.
He said the restrictions were being enforced strictly today to avoid any further loss of life or damage to property. Mobile internet services continued to remain suspended for since Saturday while normal life remained affected due to the strike called by the separatists groups.
Shops, private offices, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut, while government offices and banks witnessed thin attendance, officials said. Public transport was completely off the roads while private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying at few places in the areas where there were no restrictions, they said.
Educational institutions in the Valley were closed on account of the ongoing summer vacations, while Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) have postponed the examinations due to the prevailing situation.
Most of the separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, are either in custody or under house arrest.
Rajnath assures all support to Mehbooba
Home Minister Rajnath Singh offered “all possible support” to J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti following the death of 21 people in clashes with security forces.
Curfew has been imposed in the Kashmir Valley after widespread clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting against the killing of a top Hizbul Mujahideen leader.
According to Home Ministry sources, Rajnath Singh also urged Mehbooba Mufti to ensure the safety of Kashmiri Pandits.
‘Keep kids at home’
On Sunday, the Jammu and Kashmir government urged parents of young demonstrators to tell their wards not to take part in street protests that were leading to firing by security forces and casualties.
“We are appealing to parents to restrain their children from getting involving in incidents of stone pelting at security forces, which forces the security forces to open fire leading to the loss of innocent lives,” Education Minister and government spokesman Naeem Akhtar told the media.
Pakistan accuses India of human rights violations
Pakistan accused India of committing human rights violations in Kashmir following the killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen commander and said the resolution of Kashmir issue is only possible by realising the right to “self determination” of the people there. “Pakistan strongly condemns continued killing of innocent Kashmiris,” Foreign Ministry said.
“The extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable. Such acts are a violation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and cannot deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realisation of the right to self determination,” it said.
No of protesters injured on Saturday
No of policemen missing
No of security personnel injured in clashes
No of tourists stranded in the Valley