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Situation in Kashmir volatile; one more civilian dies

India Communal Clashes

Srinagar: Kashmir remained volatile today as one more youth was killed in army firing and 47 others, including over 40 security personnel, were injured in clashes that rocked many parts of the valley, spreading beyond Kupwara, the epicentre of the four-day unrest.

18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar was killed while three others sustained bullet injuries when army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting mobs outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from here, a police official said.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed deep anguish over the death and appealed to the general public to remain vigilant against nefarious designs of elements who want to distrub peace in the state.

The local residents were protesting against the killing of four persons — three in Handwara on Tuesday and one in Drugmulla on Wednesday — in action by security forces against protestors who were demonstrating against alleged molestation of a girl.

The three injured persons were referred to SMHS hospital here for specialised treatment, the official said.

An army official said the forces opened fire only after the mobs tried to storm the camp.

“A group of protesters were pelting stones at the (army) camp but the soldiers exercised restraint. However, the situation started going out of hand as a large number of them tried to storm the camp from all directions,” he said.

With today’s casualty, the death toll has risen to five in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

While Kupwara district has been witnessing trouble since Tuesday, protests spread today to other parts of the Valley including Sopore town in Baramulla district, Tral in Pulwama district, Bijbehara in Anantnag district, Srinagar city and Kangan area in Ganderbal district.

Zachaldara, Kralgund, Kralpora, Mir Mohalla, Drugmulla and Magam were the other areas in Kupwara district where violent protests were witnessed.

Two civilians were injured in action by security forces in Heeri area of Trehgam and Kupwara town during the protests.

Showkat Ahmad Ganai was hit by a teargas shell in the head at Heeri and has been referred to a hospital here while Sajad Ahmad Bhat of Poshpora sustained bullet injury in the leg in Kupwara town during protests, the official said.

A police spokesman said over 40 of its personnel had been injured in the clashes.

Among the cops, one sustained injuries after being hit by a stone at Magam while a Head Constable of Jammu and Kashmir police was injured in clashes in Kangan town.

Sharing the grief of the victim s family over the inconsolable loss, Mehbooba said, “she is extremely distressed as the circle of violence has consumed yet-another life of a young boy. My heart goes out to the bereaved family of the boy who died in the prime of his youth.

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