Teenager Killed in Army Firing in Restive Kupwara, 3 Injured
SRINAGAR: A teenage boy has been killed in fresh Army firing in the restive Kupwara district on Friday, officials said.
Arif Hussain Dar, 18, a Class 11 student and resident of Awura village in Kupwara, was wounded in fresh firing by Army at protesters in Natnusa village of Kupwara. He was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries, sources said.
Three civilians have suffered injuries in action by Army against protesters at Natnusa, sources said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), Javed Mujtaba Gilani, said the protesters tried to storm the camp of Army’s 47 Rashtriya Rifles in the village, triggering clashes during which the Army opened fire and Arif was shot.
The killing has taken the toll of civilian deaths to five since Tuesday after protests broke out in Handwara town against the alleged molestation of a teenage girl student by a soldier of Army’s 21 Rashtriya Rifles.
The allegations against the Army have sparked a wave of resentment across Kashmir Valley where curfew-like restrictions and ban on mobile internet continued for the third consecutive day.
Although no separatist group had called for strike, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in parts of Kashmir Valley, including the summer capital Srinagar on Fridaywhere government offices and educational institutes remained closed and police erected barricades on roads to thwart protests.
Activists of pro-freedom Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front tried to take out a march in Lal Chowk against the civilians killings in Kupwara district. However, they were bundled into a police vehicle and whisked away to a police station.
Clashes were reported from other parts of Srinagar city as well where angry youth pelted stones at troopers who responded with pellet grenades and teargas shells.
Despite curfew, agitated locals hit the streets in Handwara, Trehgam, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Budgam, Bijbehara, Mochwa, Kralpora and other parts of Kashmir where protesters held anti-India and pro-freedom protests.
There were reports of stone-pelting from these areas too. The clashes were going on at the time of filing of this report.
Armed with automatic weapons and riot gear, central paramilitary troopers and J&K Police have been deployed in strength following the killing of three civilians, including an elderly woman, in Handwara town on Tuesday.
Another civilian was shot dead in the adjoining Drugmulla village of Kupwara on Wednesday, taking the toll of deceased to four in less than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, a prominent rights group Friday accused the state government of denying legal counsel to the girl, who is at the centre of raging protests across Kashmir, and her father, alleging that they have been taken by J&K Police into their custody.
A video released by the Army shows the girl who, locals say, was molested by an Army soldier, denying the charges and instead blaming two local youths for inciting trouble in Handwara town on Tuesday.
However, the police have not yet confirmed the authenticity of the video. Although the victim remains in their custody, according to JKCCS, there is no word from the cops on the matter. Senior police officials refused to comment on the issue.