‘No let-up in killings even in Ramadhan’
Kashmiri people observe peaceful hartal today (Friday, May 17) to protest unfortunate killings even during Ramadhan. Imams and khateebs in Friday sermons will also raise their voice against this bloodshed.
Separatist leadership has called a shutdown in Kashmir on Friday against the recent killings.
“Even in the holy month of Ramadhan there is no letup in killings and bloodshed in Kashmir as civilians, armed youth or even Indian forces are getting killed,” said the JRL – an amalgam of separatist leaders – in a statement.
In one manner or the other, they said, Kashmiris continue to pay the price of the unresolved Kashmir issue as use of force against them continues unabated.
“Whether it is death of civilian Rayees Ahmed Dar of Pulwama killed during CASO or Arshad Ahmed Dar of Chanabal Pattan killed while protesting the most heinous crime of rape of a child or the killing of Nayeem Shah of Baderwah allegedly by a VDC Kashmiris continue to fall prey to the lingering issue and subsequent use of unbridled force,” said the JRL.
Meanwhile, in the latest round of gun-battle , three rebels, an army soldier and a civilian were killed early Thursday during the in disputed Kashmir that triggered anti-India protests and clashes, officials and residents said.
The gunbattle broke out in a neighborhood in southern Pulwama town as police and soldiers scoured the area for militants, said Col. Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman. He said as troops began conducting searches, they came under heavy gunfire, leading to a gunfight that killed three militants and an army soldier.
A civilian was also killed and his brother wounded during the fighting, police said. Two soldiers were also injured in the gunbattle.
Local residents said troops damaged one civilian home with explosives.
The fighting sparked protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to march to the site of the battle in solidarity with rebels despite security lockdown in the area.
Government forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas at protesters who threw stones at them. No one was immediately reported injured in the street clashes.
India and Pakistan each claim the divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989.
Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.
About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown since 1989.
Curfew imposed in Bhadarwah
Meanwhile, the killing of a middle aged man allegedly by ‘cow vigilantes’ has triggered widespread protests and outrage in Bhadarwah, forcing the administration to impose curfew in the picturesque town.
Reports said a group of three persons were heading towards their native Mohalla Qilla area of Bhaderwah along with their cattle when they were fired upon at 2 am by alleged cow vigilantes near Nalthi village.
In the attack, Naeem Ahmad Shah (50) was killed on spot while two of his associates managed to escape with minor injuries. Police claimed that seven suspects of village Kaathi-Nalthi have been detained, however, the main suspect is absconding.
The incident triggered widespread protests as people were demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. The protestors pelted stones on police station, demanding that the culprits should be handed over to them. The protesters also torched two auto rickshaws and a motorcycle at Seri Bazaar, Takia Chowk and Pasri Bus Stand.
Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, which further infuriated them following which they vandalised the parked vehicles by smashing their windowpanes.
The administration has imposed curfew and called out the army to control the situation.
“This is a cold-blooded murder and has been carried out on the behest of the goons of BJP, RSS and Shiv Sena, who are hell bent to polarize the situation here. If the kingpins are not booked immediately, this will have very dangerous consequences and for that only administration with Modi’s agenda will be responsible,” said Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh, President Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhadarwah, while issuing a shutdown call against the incident. Sensing the gravity of the matter, DDC Doda Dr Sagar Doifode, SSP Shabir Ahmed Malik and Commander 4 Sector RR Brig N.J.Singh are camping at Bhadarwah to assess the situation.
DDC Doda appealed people to remain calm and maintain peace and promised that the law will take its own course and all the culprits will brought to the book.
The ding-dong battles between security forces and protesters were going on at Takiya Chowk when last reports came in.
Shut down observed
Meanwhile, Kashmiri people observed complete shutdown in Magam in north and Budgam in central Kashmir on the fourth consecutive day Thursday against alleged rape of a minor girl in Sumbal last week.
Acording to reports, a curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the twin towns as a precautionary measure to prevent people from taking to the roads.
Besides, mobile internet service also continued to remain suspended for the fourth straight day in these areas as a precautionary measure.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought punishment under Shariah law in the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl in Bandipora district and said she was “mortified” to hear about it.
Mehbooba took to Twitter to strongly condemn the incident and wrote, “Mortified to hear about the rape of a 3-year-old girl in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault? Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death.”
The minor girl was allegedly raped in Sumbal area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on May 9. Protests broke out all across the Kashmir against the incident and people demanded immediate exemplary action against the alleged perpetrators.
Fearing protests by students, the authorities ordered closure of colleges in the capital city Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Kupwara, Budgam and other. Reports said some higher secondary schools were also closed at many places as a precautionary measure to avoid any uncertainty.
Meanwhile students of different educational institutions continued to hit the streets demanding justice for three years old rape victim and stern punishment to the accused.
A group of youth, both boys and girls, assembled at the City Centre Lal Chowk near Ghanta Ghar and staged protest against May 9 rape incident with a minor girl in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Holding placards in their hands which read “justice for little girl, hang the rapist” the protesting youth demanded that the culprit should be punished sternly.
Meanwhile a student rally amid pro victim and anti-rapist slogans took out a protest rally from Islamia College Gojwara to Nowhatta Chowk against Sumbal incident. The slogan shouting students mainly girls demanded death penalty to the accused who they said tarnished the modesty of a three year old girl child.
“We will continue to protest until the guilty is punished. This is not a sectarian issue but issue involving humanity. Some political brokers try to hijack the incident for their political interests but we appeal public to stand united at the moment without falling prey to dirty political gimmicks,” said a girl protester.