Civilian killed in fresh violence, Rajnath to visit Kashmir (Evening Lead)

Srinagar, July 22 (IANS) A civilian protester was killed in a clash with security forces in south Kashmir on Friday, a day before Home Minister Rajnath Singh is set to arrive here to review the situation in the state.

Police sources told IANS that security forces fired at a stone-throwing mob in Awantipora, 20 km from here, in Pulwama district.

Three people received bullet injuries. One of them, Mushtaq Ahmad, son of Bashir Ahmad, was declared brought dead at a hospital here. The other injured civilians were said to be critical at the S.M.H.S Hospital in Srinagar.

With the latest death, the toll in the ongoing violent agitation in the Kashmir Valley has risen to 46. Thousands of protesters have been injured and many are still being treated in various hospitals of the valley.

The fresh violence took place after two days of relative calm in the valley and a day before Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir.

The home minister, according to government sources, is expected to take forward the initiative on Kashmir, resolved at an all-party meeting by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday.

The meeting called for involving “all the stakeholders” – largely seen as engaging with separatist leadership and Pakistan – to resolve the problems of Jammu and Kashmir and its people.

The main opposition National Conference stayed away from the key meeting but it was attended by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), CPI, BJP and Panthers Party.

The meeting called “for inclusive engagement of all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir for carrying forward the peace and reconciliation process”, according to a resolution.

It was the first political initiative in the days of deadly unrest that gripped almost the entire Kashmir Valley following the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and two of his aides.

As the valley stayed tense, stone-throwing protests erupted after Friday prayers at many places with people defying prohibitory orders that have been in place since July 9.

Curfew and separatists-called protest shutdown marred life across the valley for the 14th day running on Friday.

Authorities imposed curfew in all the 10 districts of the valley making announcements on loudspeaker mounted on police vehicles and asked people to remain indoors, fearing more violence post Friday prayers.

No congregational prayers were allowed for a second Friday in the main mosques of the valley including Jamia Masjid, the largest in Srinagar.



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