Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti visits families of people killed in firing by security forces

Five civilians have died since Tuesday in clashes with security forces

Srinagar: As tension prevailed in Kashmir on the fourth day, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday sought to douse the flames by visiting families of those killed since Tuesday in firing by security forces and assured them of justice amid her assertion that such incidents are "unacceptable".

Indian police detain activists from the Jammu and Kashmir Libration Front (JKLF) during a protest in Srinagar on Friday. Pic/PTI
Indian police detain activists from the Jammu and Kashmir Libration Front (JKLF) during a protest in Srinagar on Friday. Pic/PTI

Mehbooba reached out to the families of the victims in the hour of grief even as curfew-like restrictions continued in certain parts of Kashmir and mobile internet services were snapped throughout the Valley. Meanwhile, the mother of the 16-year-old girl, whose alleged molestation on Tuesday triggered the cycle of violence in Kashmir, claimed that her daughter was pressurised into giving a video statement denying she was molested and has approached court seeking an independent probe into the incident.

"We do not want police or Army, those who have done this, to inquire it," she said. As tension persisted, Mehbooba visited and consoled the family of 18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar, who was killed on Friday when the Army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting mobs outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from here. She visited families of other deceased too. Five people have died since Tuesday in firing by security forces on protesters who were agitating against the alleged molestation in Handwara town of Kupwara district.

Mehbooba flew to Kupwara to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. She made it clear that no civilian should be harmed while security forces deal with law-and-order situations. She said she had a telephonic conversation with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar late last evening and also met Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda and told them that incidents like the ones at Handwara and Nathnusa are "unacceptable" and come as a major setback to the efforts of the state government in consolidating peace dividends in the state.

Centre to send in more troops to the Valley

New Delhi: The central government on Saturday decided to send more troopers to Jammu and Kashmir to bring the situation — on the boil for four days — under control.

Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Saturday, in a meeting of senior officials from the Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Defence, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed the situation to bring the situation under control without any more loss of life.

"The central government is concerned over the loss of human lives. It was decided to send additional Central Armed Police Forces to strengthen the security grid," a home ministry statement said. Stating that the ministry is in touch with senior state government officials and has been monitoring the situation, the statement said that the ministry has assured "full cooperation and support to the government of J&K".

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