Army regrets killings as woman dies in Kashmir (Roundup)

Srinagar, July 19 (IANS) A woman injured in firing a day ago died in a hospital here on Tuesday as the Indian Army expressed “regrets” and ordered an inquiry into the shooting, a first in the recent cycle of violence that has left over 40 people dead in the restive Kashmir Valley.

Neelofar succumbed to her injuries in SKIMS hospital, doctors said. She was injured in a south Kashmir village on Monday evening when soldiers opened fire after a “mob turned violent resorting to heavy stone pelting and attempted to snatch weapons from” them.

The army in a statement said it “regrets” the incident in Qazigund, known as the gateway to Kashmir – on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

The army, while expressing grief over the loss of life and injuries sustained by the protestors, also “appealed to the people to maintain peace and refrain from attacking security forces or their vehicles or establishments thus creating situations where the security forces are left with no option but to retaliate in self-defence”, the army spokesperson said in a statement.

“An inquiry has been ordered into the incident,” said the statement, adding the army pledged “to provide all possible assistance to the bereaved families and to the persons injured in the unfortunate incident”.

Two more civilians, including a middle-aged woman, have died in the incident.

The latest death increased the toll to 44 in the unrest triggered by the July 8 killing of 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

A police spokesperson told IANS here that the valley stayed calm on Tuesday and no fresh violence was reported from anywhere in Kashmir.

But the continuous curfew, imposed immediately after Wani’s killing, along with his two militant aides, continued to paralyse normal life in the valley. Shops and businesses remained shut even as at some places grocers had partially opened their shops in the morning.

No newspaper could hit the stands for the fourth day in a row on Tuesday after the government banned their publication on Saturday.

Even as the government denied it had curbed the media, editors have refused to publish saying the government had resorted to a “propaganda blitzkrieg” and was refusing to own up responsibility for banning Srinagar-based newspapers.

“The state government made it clear that there are no restrictions on printing, publishing, and distribution of newspapers,” an official statement from the district magistrates of Srinagar and Budgam said.

The ban and the subsequent refusal to publish has created an information blackout in the valley which has led to very little being reported from parts of Kashmir.



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