Bloodbath continued in Kashmir as forces shot dead five more civilians including two teenagers on Tuesday—four in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district and one in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district—while at least 70 people were injured in day-long clashes in several areas. The condition of two injured youth is stated to be critical. With five more deaths, the toll has climbed to 65 in a span of 39 days while the number of injured has touched 6000. Of total injured, 500 have sustained grave pellet injuries in their eyes and are on the verge of losing their eye-sight, according to medicos.
Locals said on August 15, dozens of people took to streets in Aripanthan village of Beerwah tehsil of Budgam district to protest the alleged atrocities of forces. Locals told Greater Kashmir that forces broke windowpanes of many houses in the area without any provocation.
“Actually, some youth had pushed back SDM Budgam who had come to participate in official August 15 function yesterday. Perhaps, to take the revenge, forces created fear-psychosis among people by resorting to damaging of residential houses in the evening,” a group of locals alleged.
Things turned ugly on Tuesday morning (August 16) when locals of Aripanthan village went to nearby check-post to buy newspapers and in the meantime, some forces’ vehicles passed by. “Some forces personnel disembarked from their vehicles to clear the road where youth had placed big rocks to prevent the forces’ movement in the area,” witnesses said.
They said forces resorted to indiscriminate firing on people in which four persons sustained serious bullet injuries.
Witnesses said a civilian Muhammad Ashraf Wani, 35, s/o Ghulam Muhammad of Hazarpora, was looking for his child when a bullet hit him. “He died on the spot,” they said. “As the forces resorted to firing, all people laid themselves on ground.”
The witnesses said the forces fired at those who were walking at distance from the site where their vehicles were located. “12 more youth and a woman sustained bullet injuries of which two died on the spot while another one was shifted to SKIMS Bemina along with others,” they said.
The two other civilians who also died on the spot were identified as 25-year-old Javaid Ahmed Sheikh s/o Ghulam Rasool and Javaid Ahmed Najar, 19, S/o Ghulam Rasool. The third one was brought dead to SKIMS Bemina, hospital sources said, and identified the slain as 25-year-old Manzoor Ahmed Lone s/o Muhammad Akbar. Locals said all the three slain civilians hailed from Aripanthan village of Beerwah Tehsil.
Block Medical Officer Beerwah said three youth were brought dead to Beerwah hospital. Locals said the situation in Arpanthan and Beerwah was tense as people in hundreds hit the streets to take part in funeral prayers of the four slain youth. They said people from dozens of villages that include Khag, Beerwah, Adina, Magam and others marched towards Aripanthan to join the prayers.
Reports meanwhile said the condition of two youth injured at Aripanthan—Touqeer Ahmed and Farooq Ahmed—is critical and they both are battling for life at SKIMS Soura.
‘ARMY BEATS PEOPLE TO PULP’
Reports said at least 35 people were allegedly beaten to pulp by Army in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. The Army, however, refuted the allegations, claiming that they resorted to aerial firing only when their vehicles were stoned at Kurhama and Baroosa areas. Officials at Primary Health Centre Lar and District Hospital Ganderbal confirmed that injured were brought there for treatment. “Most of the injured had bone fractures and swelling due to beating,” they said.
Reports said late evening protests were witnessed in Baroosa and other areas of Ganderbal district. Some injured were also shifted to PHC Wakoora.
At Manigam, hundreds of women took out a pro-freedom rally that culminated peacefully. Reports said a candle march was also held in Kangan area.