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Kashmir erupts again, four killed in firing

Srinagar: Four people have been killed in three separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. One person each was killed in Pattan and Kupwara while two died in Sopore as security forces fired at curfew-defying mobs indulging in stone-pelting. The person killed in Pattan has been identified as 60-year-old Ali Muhammad Khandey.

At least 20 persons have also been injured in the violent incidents so far.

The Central Reserve Police Force opened fire after a mob tried to attack its camp in Bomai, Sopore.

“Ali Muhammad Khandey was killed when police opened fire to disperse an unruly mob defying curfew restrictions in Pattan town in Baramulla district (about 30 km from here). One protester sustained injury in the incident,” a senior police officer said.

A doctor at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura (SKIMS) in Srinagar said Khandey was brought to the hospital in a critical condition and, despite best efforts, he could not be revived.

“He had a fatal head injury which could have been caused either by a direct tear smoke shell hit or a bullet,” said the doctor attending on him.

The police officer said security forces used batons, tear smoke canisters and aerial firing to quell the unruly mob in Pattan town.

In Baramulla town, two stone-pelting youths jumped into the Jhelum River — and swam to safety — after they were chased by security forces at the Cement Bridge.

Earlier in the day, a 21-year-old man, identified as Mudasir Ahmad Zargar, was killed when security forces fired at another curfew-defying mob in north Kashmir’s Trehgam village, about 120 km from here.

Two women protesters were also injured in the Trehgam violence and were being treated in a hospital here, police said.

Reports of protests also came from south Kashmir Anantnag town, Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar city and north Kashmir Palhalan town where stone-pelting mobs clashed with security forces.

Authorities did not impose any curfew restrictions in summer capital Srinagar Friday where the separatist Hurriyat group headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq asked people to march to the Jamia Mosque in the Old City and hardline Hurriyat group leader Syed Ali Geelani appealed to them to march to Pather Masjid, also in the Old City.

Hundreds of people, including Farooq, reached the Jamia Mosque to offer Friday prayers while Geelani was admitted to SKIMS after he complained of chest pain.

A large mob of protesters also marched towards Jahangir Chowk in Srinagar from the uptown Batmaloo locality.

Just two days back Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had appealed for calm in the Valley following an all-party meeting in New Delhi. The Centre had promised political dialogue with the Prime Minister even announcing a special jobs panel.

But Hurriyat Conference leader leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq rejected Manmohan’s call for autonomy, saying dialogue would be possible only if Armed forces Special Powers Act is revoked.

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