Fresh violence in Kashmir as toll mounts to 32

Srinagar, July 11: Amid recurring clashes in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley, three injured protesters died in hospitals here on Monday, taking the death toll to 32 in three days of bloodshed following the killing of a top militant that has sparked fresh India-Pakistan tensions.

Kashmir Clashes

And for the first time, police opened fire hitting two civilians in embattled Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown Bijbehara in southern Kashmir, which has accounted for all the deaths bar one since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces on Friday.

At least 31 civilians and a police driver have been killed in clashes between the security forces and angry young demonstrators across the Kashmir Valley since Saturday, various informed sources told mediapersons. But police put the death toll at 23.

There were no fresh deaths on Monday. But the sources said nine more casualties were added to the toll after at least three people succumbed to injuries and five who had died earlier were counted on Friday.

Clashes, however, raged on in many parts of the valley as young men armed with rocks defied prohibitory orders to hurl stones at police and paramilitary pickets.

Bijbehara, Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown, some 40 km from here towards the south of the valley, was the latest to be consumed by the clashes, police sources told mediapersons.

Normal life across the valley was paralysed for the third day amid strict curfew and a separatist-called shutdown.

Public transport went off the roads. Private cars plied at some places in areas where there were no restrictions. Shops and other businesses remained shut. Government offices and banks were also closed as cellphone internet services remained suspended.

As the anger in Kashmir simmered, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for a plebiscite in the “occupied” Jammu and Kashmir. India asked Pakistan to worry more about human rights abuses in parts of Kashmir it controls.

Radio Pakistan quoted Sharif as saying that the “massacre of citizens by Indian forces and use of brutal force against Kashmir is regrettable”.

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