Kashmir simmers after three civilians shot dead

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Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) Three civilians, including a girl, 16, were killed and many injured when security when security forces allegedly opened fire at a stone-pelting mob during a cordon and search operation in a south Kashmir village on Saturday, sparking tension across the Valley on the eve of militant commander Burhan Wani’s second death anniversary.

A police officer said residents of Hawoora and adjoining villages tried to disrupt the anti-terror operation as security forces cordoned off the area following inputs that a group of militants was hiding in Kulgam, some 70 km from south of here.

Eight civilians sustained firearm injuries during the clash with security forces. The three deceased were identified as as Andleeb, 16, Shakir Ahmad, 22 and Irshad Ahmad, 20. Five injured were being treated in hospitals and the condition of two of them was reported serious.

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Senior police, army and paramilitary officers rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.

The authorities snapped mobile internet services in all the four south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama. Thousands of people walked to attend the funeral of the slain civilians.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of his faction of the Hurriyat Conference who is under house arrest, tweeted that security forces had fired “indiscriminately” at protesters and accused them of “massacre”.

Curfew was already in place in Tral to prevent protests on the second death anniversary of Burhan Wani — the popular militant commander who was killed on July 8, 2016 along with two of his associates. His killing triggered a wave of protesters in which over 100 lives were lost.

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Nearly 4,000 others were injured in the unrest that lasted for five months.

Over 100 injured protesters were permanently or partially blinded by pellet gunshots used by the security forces to restore order in the valley.

Reports from Tral town, where Wani was buried, said some militants appeared at his grave on Friday and fired shots in the air to honour their hero.

Separatists had called for a protest shutdown on Sunday on to remember Wani.

Rail services have been suspended in the valley for two days as a precautionary measure.

Authorities have announced that admit cards would be treated as curfew passes for candidates taking the National Eligibility Test (NET) tomorrow at various centres in Srinagar.

–IANS

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