Kashmir erupts afresh after deadly violence (Evening Lead)

Srinagar, Aug 3 (IANS) People across Kashmir Valley on Wednesday took to the streets and defied curfew at some places after the killing of two more civilians, including an ATM booth guard who was found dead, with hundreds of pellets fired from close range, officials and residents said.

The cause of ATM booth guard Riyaz Ahmad Shah’s death was confirmed by an autopsy report and official sources told IANS that doctors who performed the post-mortem found over 300 pellets in his abdomen.

“Those responsible for the cold blooded murder of the youth will be identified and brought to justice,” a top government source here said.

Shah was found dead early on Wednesday under mysterious circumstances near the Government Medical College in Karan Nagar here. Police had earlier said he died of an injury inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon.

But the deceased’s family and locals alleged that he was killed by the security forces.

As the news about Shah’s killing spread, hundreds of residents took to the streets in the old city area to attend his funeral despite restrictions. His body was carried in a procession to the graveyard in Eidgah area of Srinagar.

With Shah’s death, the total number of people killed in the ongoing cycle of violence that began on July 9 has risen to 53. These include two policemen.

This was the second death since Tuesday evening after a protestor was shot dead in south Kashmir on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Farooq Kuchhay was killed and another person critically injured when the security guard of additional district development commissioner of Ramban opened fire at a mob that attacked his vehicle at Letpora in Pulwama district on Tuesday evening, police said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people attended Kuchhay’s funeral prayers in Letpora on the highway, witnesses said.

A protest march was also held in south Kashmir tourist resort of Pahalgam, the base camp for thousands of Hindu pilgrims to the holy Amarnath cave shrine.

Witnesses said security forces stopped the march and fired teargas to disperse the protestors before they could reach the main market.

Protests were also held at Kulgam, in south Kashmir. Police said security forces fired pellets at protestors. Dozens of marchers were wounded.

Authorities re-imposed curfew at many places across the valley to maintain law and order.

The restive Kashmir Valley had begun to limp back to normalcy during the last two days as private transport and pedestrian movement was witnessed in uptown areas of Srinagar after more than three weeks of restrictions and separatist-called shutdown.

Separatists have extended the protest shutdown call till August 5 asking people to resume normal activities after 6 p.m. each day.

All educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities, have remained closed since the violence that was triggered by the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.



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