SRINAGAR: Despite a lethal crackdown by security forces, Kashmiri women have been at the forefront of the current spate of protests that have kept the Valley on the boil following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, last week.

According to officials in the State's health department, one woman was killed and nearly four dozen have suffered injuries, who have been admitted at various hospitals over the last four days of intense clashes across the Valley. The youngest among them is a three-year-old girl.

Medical superintendent of SHMS hospital, Dr Nazir Ahmad Chaudhary, said at least five women were admitted at the hospital in critical condition of whom two have been discharged, "Three women are still undergoing treatment and their condition is stable," Dr Chaudhary said.

A young woman, who is admitted at SMHS hospital, said security forces opened fire without any provocation at a protest in south Kashmir. "I was watching the protest when a CRPF man turned his gun at me and fired. When I woke up, I found myself here," the woman, who didn't want to be named, told The Citizen.

Last Saturday, Masooda Tabassum, 40, marched from Dabruna village along with her husband, Feroz Ahmad Kadoo, and nearly 100 other protesters, on coming to know about Burhan's killing.

According to witnesses, the protesters were stopped near Ashajipora on the outskirts of Anantnag town in south Kashmir, which has been the centre of anti-India and pro-freedom protests, and later allegedly attacked by security forces who opened fire.

"They were marching peacefully to express solidarity with the family of Burhan and two other militants. Forces opened fire at them without provocation, injuring both father and mother," daughter of the duo, said.

While the woman has suffered bullet injuries, Feroz was hit by pellets. Both are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Anantnag town.

The oldest female victim of the forces' highhandedness is 80-year-old Sara Begum who suffered injuries when police and paramilitary forces opened fire to contain a demonstration in south Kashmir's Bijbehara town. According to sources, her condition is stable.

The toll in the civilian unrest following the killing of the Hizb commander reached 36 on Tuesday with a 17-year-old boy, Amir Ahmad, succumbing to gunshot injuries at Srinagar's premier, SMHS Hospital, last night.

According to officials, Amir, a post-graduate student, was brought in along with two more civilian protesters, all of whom had suffered firearm injuries, from Bijbehara where security forces opened fire on a demonstration last evening.

Curfew remains imposed in parts of Kashmir Valley which have witnessed unprecedented flare-up following the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster-boy of new insurgency in Kashmir.

Mobile Internet services also remain suspended for the fourth consecutive day.

Additional reinforcements have been rushed by the Centre to contain the protests which have erupted in areas of south Kashmir like Damhal Hanjipora, Muqam, Seer, Shangus and Noorabad which were traditionally seen as bastions of mainstream political parties.

The flare-up in these places has caught the security agencies on the back-foot who were expecting 'limited protests' in 'certain pockets' of the Valley which are seen as hotbed of anti-India and pro-freedom sentiment following Burhan Wani's killing.

(File picture)