Indian police killed a protester in IHK
28 April, 2017
SRINAGAR: Indian police shot dead a civilian in Occupied Kashmir after firing on protesters demanding the bodies of two rebels who stormed an army base and killed three soldiers, including a captain-ranked officer, before being gunned down in the wee hours of Thursday.
Officials said a group of unidentified rebels stormed the army’s artillery headquarters housing 155 Field Regiment in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district at dawn, hurling grenades at the posts inside and firing indiscriminately, injuring eight army men, of whom three succumbed later.
Two suspects, whose identity has not been confirmed so far, were killed in retaliatory fire at the base, while another reportedly managed to escape.
As the news of encounter spread in Pangzam village, where the army base is located, hundreds of residents, including women and teenagers, poured from adjoining villages and staged protests, demanding the bodies of the two rebels so that they could be buried.
Officials said the demonstrations turned violent as the protesters, throwing stones, started moving towards the army base. As they were some 500 metres away, “security forces opened fire on the violent mob, resulting in the death of a 50-year-old man, Mohammad Yusuf”, said Kupwara SSP Shamsher Hussain.
He said three others were also injured in firing by forces, while five injured army men were airlifted to the army base hospital in Srinagar where the condition of two men was stated to be critical.
Protests and clashes are being reported almost on a daily basis from the region, which has seen a surge in attacks on Indian forces and workers of political parties. Authorities on Wednesday banned 22 social media websites and instant messaging applications for a month to prevent the situation from turning into a full-blown rebellion.
Fresh clashes broke out in Shopian district, part of the volatile south Kashmir that was the epicentre of last year’s bloodied uprising, when Indian forces were laying siege to a village following inputs about the presence of militants.
Youth took to the streets, as forces were cordoning off Sugan village in pursuit of militants, and threw rocks at them. Clashes also broke out in Pulwama town of south Kashmir after students of a secondary school marched into the streets, demanding release of their colleagues arrested the other day.
Indian forces have responded to the simmering rage in Kashmir by cracking down harshly on the protesters and arresting pro-freedom activists and Hurriyat leaders. Asiya Andrabi, the chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a party affiliated with Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat, was arrested in a nocturnal raid at her residence in Srinagar Wednesday night, said a spokesperson of the group.