Eerie Calm in Kashmir, as Death Toll Rises
SRINAGAR: An eerie calm prevails in the Valley with the death toll jumping to 38 on Thursday even as a team of doctors from New Delhi's AIIMS arrived in the capital Srinagar to treat victims who have suffered fatal pellet injuries in eyes.
There has been no let up in protests in the Valley since last Friday with allegations of "indiscriminate" force being used against protesters and even civilian population becoming target of police and paramilitary forces in some areas of south Kashmir.
Demanding an impartial probe into the violent events, the global rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, yesterday issued a statement, urging India to stop the use of excessive force against civilian protesters in Kashmir.
"A major grievance of those protesting in Kashmir is the failure of authorities to respect basic human rights," Human Rights Watch (HRW) South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said in a statement.
"Rock-throwing at demonstrations is serious but does not provide police a free pass to use force against protesters," Ms Ganguly said.
Over 1200 protesters have suffered injuries in the ongoing unrest, with many of them facing the prospects of permanent disability. At Bone and Joint hospital in Srinagar, over 50 patients with multiple fractures, allegedly caused by forces with gun butts and batons, are undergoing treatment.
In Shopian, forces allegedly fired pellets inside a residence in Sedow village last evening, which perforated the face of a ninth-class student identified as Insha. According to doctors, the victim has lost vision in left eye and chances of her regaining vision in right eye are negligible.
The victim is one of more than 100 civilians, which also include a three-year-old girl, who suffered pellet injuries in their eyes over the last five days of unrest, forcing the administration to declare a medical emergency at Srinagar's SMHS hospital.
In Anantnag district, forces resorted to firing at protestors in Harnag village yesterday, resulting in injuries to some civilian protesters. A youth identified as Hilal Ahmed Dar, 22, of Takia-Behram area, who had suffered bullet injury in his head, succumbed last evening.
Another youth, Irshad Ahmed Dar, of Kulgam, succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS Soura in Srinagar today morning. He had suffered bullet injuries, according to doctors.
Earlier last night, another youth, Javaid Ahmed Lone, a resident of Mishipora Kaimoh in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, lost battle at SKIMS, Soura. He had sustained multiple bullet injuries, according to doctors.
The body of Zahoor Ahmed Matoo, of Kisrigam, Kakapora, who was hit by a teargas shell on his back and later drowned in river Jehlum last Friday was fished out yesterday. He drowned in the river at Padgampora.
Two more youth, Mushtaq Ahmed Dar of Hadpora, Vesu, Qazigund and Shahid Ahmed Magray of Larnoo, Kokernag, also succumbed to injuries, taking the death toll to 38.
(Cover Photograph: 5 year old girl who has pellet wounds in her legs, forehead and abdomen. BASIT ZARGAR)