Woman, who was hit by bullet in Handwara, dies at SKIMS | Kupwara youth killed in police action on protesters| Dozens injured in day-long clashes| Thousands join funerals of slain persons
A youth was killed in police action on protesters in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday while a woman, who was hit by bullets in Handwara yesterday, succumbed to her injuries late last night, taking the death toll in the twin incidents to four. The killings triggered widespread protests and clashes in Handwara and Kupwara on Wednesday in which dozens of people were injured. The slain lady was identified as Raja Begum (53) wife of Abdul Jabber Pandit of LangateHandwara and the youth killed on Wednesday was identified as Jahangir Ahmad Wani (23) son of Ghulam Din of NagriKupwara. Raja died of bullet injuries while Jahangir was hit by a teargas shell lobbed by police while dispersing a protest rally, witnesses said.
Raja—mother of two and wife of a farmer—was hit by a bullet in head on Tuesday evening. She was in her vegetable garden at Dandkadal, about a kilometer away from Handwara town, when she was hit by the bullet. Raja was shifted to District Hospital Handwara but was instantly referred to SKIMS Srinagar where she succumbed late last night.
“The bullet had damaged her brain. We could not save her,” a senior doctor, who treated Raja at Surgical Intensive Care Unit of SKIMS, told Greater Kashmir on Wednesday.
Residents of Langate said soon after the Handwara incident where Army killed two youth, the soldiers of Army’s 21 Rashtriya Rifles stationed at Marhatgam, near Dandkadal, opened fire. “There were around 30 gunshots outside the camp. This lady was injured in this firing incident,” Abdul Lateef, a resident of Langate said. “Now stories are being cooked up about her death.”
The residents said there were no protests in the area. “Everything was peaceful. We are unable to understand why they (RR soldiers) opened fire,” they said.
However, police said the “matter needs to be investigated.” “We were busy tackling the Handwara town situation when the death of lady took place. Nothing can be said. Nothing can be ruled out,” a senior police official of Police District Handwara told Greater Kashmir. “Her death is part of our investigations into the Handwara killings.”
YOUTH KILLED AT DRAGMULLA
In another firing incident, Jahangir Ahmad Wani was killed after he was hit by a teargas shell in Drugmullah area of Kupwara, on Wednesday. Jehangir, according to reports, was among hundreds of protestors who had hit the streets against the killing of two youth in Army firing in Handwara on Tuesday evening.
Eyewitness said police lobbed tear gas shells on groups of youth who were returning after participating in the funeral of Iqbal Farooq Pir of BumhamaDrugmullah. They said once the groups of youth reached near Drugmullah Army Garrison, police resorted to intense teargas shelling.
“He was hit by a teargas shell in head. We removed him to nearby dispensary, but doctors declared him as brought dead,” local residents said.
“There were heavy clashes in the area for the entire day. We did not use any fire arm,” SSP Kupwara, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, claimed. “Don’t know whether the youth died because of tear gas shell or a stone. The situation in entire Drugmullah is tense. We are trying to keep the situation under control.”
Later in the evening, amid anti-India and anti-government slogans, Jehangir was laid to rest in Nagri. Thousands of people participated in his funeral prayers.
Massive protests were held at several places in Handwara and Kupwara against the civilian killings.
In Handwara town, people defied undeclared curfew and clashed with police and paramilitary forces, deployed in large numbers to control the situation.
Thousands of people assembled in Playground of Boys Higher Secondary School Handwara and participated in the funeral procession of NayeemQadirBhat, who was killed by army yesterday.
Earlier, the family and residents were reluctant to lay Nayeem to rest, but they agreed after “some assurance” by Kupwara District Administration.
In the morning, groups of youth appeared at various places in Handwara town and took out anti-India processions. Police tried to stop them but the protestors pelted stones on the cops.
A report said protestors torched an army bunker in Handwara, on Wednesday, where from the soldiers opened fire on youth yesterday. The bunker was razed to ground.
The clashes between police and protestors were going on in the town and adjoining areas for the entire day and also when this report was filed. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors, leaving at least 25 persons injured in Handwara town alone.
The protesters also attacked police posts in Magam and Langate in Handwara, a police official said.
“The Mess of Police Post was torched in Langate while as windowpanes of Police Post Magam were damaged,” he said.
Protests also broke out in Drugmullah and its adjoining areas and at least 20 persons were injured in the ensuing police action.
To stop further protests, police has closed exit and entrance points of Handwara and Kupwara.
Reports said barbed wire was laid on roads to restrict movement of people.
“By and large, the situation is under control,” Deputy Inspector General of Police, north Kashmir, Uttam Chand, told Greater Kashmir. “We are exercising restraint while dealing with the protests.”
In a long handout issued this evening, a police spokesman claimed: “The burial of three civilians, who died in yesterday’s incidents at Handwara, concluded at Kupwara, Langate and Handwara today. After the burials, miscreants attacked Police Post Magam (P/S Handwara) and caused extensive damage to the building. Similarly, P/P Langate was also attacked by a mob of over 2000 causing extensive damage to the building and burning down of a shed within the premises of P/P Langate.”
The spokesman alleged: “Miscreants also resorted to heavy stone pelting in town Handwara during the day. During law and order problem at DrugmulaKupwara, one Jahangir Ahmad Wani S/O Ghulam-ud-Din Wani R/O Nagri, Kupwara, received head injury and later succumbed in the hospital. He was buried in his ancestral graveyard later in the evening.”
Police, according to its spokesman, “exercised utmost restraint despite heavy provocations. During the process of dispersal of unruly mobs, about 110 Police personnel got injured. Cases have been registered regarding death of civilians in law & order incidents and investigation started.”
“In Srinagar also, some parts of down town city witnessed stone pelting in which two CRPF personnel namely Head Constable Rajesh Verma of 54 Bn. CRPF and Constable Mukesh Mishra of 49th Bn. CRPF got injured seriously and were admitted in SMHS Hospital. One of the soldiers was later referred to Bone and Joints hospital Barzalla,” the spokesman said.
“Situation in other parts of the valley remained by and large peaceful. General public is requested to please refrain from indulging in lawlessness, remain calm and help the administration in maintaining peace and order,” the spokesman said.