Four more die in Kashmir violence, death toll 19

Srinagar, July 10: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday appealed for calm as four more people died in continuing protests against the killing of a top guerrilla leader, taking the death toll to 19.

A mob overran a bullet-proof police vehicle and rolled it down into the Sutlej river at Sangam in Anantnag district, drowning its constable driver while other policemen fled the scene, official sources said.

Security forces shot dead two demonstrators at Litter in Pulwama district after a huge crowd took to the streets shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans, the sources said.

Irfan Ahmad Malik, 17, was also killed on Sunday in firing elsewhere in Pulwama district after a curfew-defying mob attacked the security forces, a senior police official said.

The latest fatalities took the death toll in two days of widespread clashes between protesters and security forces in the Kashmir Valley to 19 — 18 demonstrators and one policeman.

Senior officials said three policemen were missing following the violence and nearly 100 security personnel were injured in the street clashes which have crippled the Kashmir Valley and halted the Amarnath Yatra.

Kashmir Valley erupted in anger on Saturday after security forces shot dead Burhan Wani, a top leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen, along with two of his associates on Friday. His funeral was attended by thousands.

Wani’s killing has triggered widespread protests, most of them in the northern districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian. Wani hailed from Pulwama. In most places mobs have attacked security forces, leading to tear-gassing and firing.

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 civilian casualties.

“We are appealing to parents to restraint 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.

Akhtar also urged the separatist Hurriyat Conference to help restore calm in the Kashmir Valley, where a separatist campaign raging has left tens of thousands dead since 1989.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Asgar Hussain Samoon urged people to help restore peace.

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