Teenage girl among three killed in Kashmir’s Kulgam district in Army firing; mobile internet suspended

Three civilians, including a teenaged girl, were killed in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday allegedly in firing by security forces, the police said. Several protesters were also injured in the violence.

Government forces allegedly opened fire on protesters after clashes erupted in Redwani village in Kulgam soon after troops began a cordon and search operation in the region, the Kashmir Reader reported. Security forces resorted to firing allegedly after local residents began to pelt stones at them.

However, The Indian Express quoted villagers as saying that the clashes broke out as security forces had detained several youths in the villages of Hawoora and Mishpora, after which local residents resorted to stone-pelting. Army troops retaliated by firing at the protesters, injuring at least five, the report added.

The three victims — all residents of Hawoora in Kulgam — were identified as Irshad Majeed (20), Shakir Ahmed Khanday (22) and Andleeb (16). They were taken to a hospital in Frisal, 18 kilometres from Kulgam, where they succumbed to their injuries.

As the situation continues to be tense in the region, authorities have suspended mobile internet service in the districts of Kulgam and Anantnag to prevent the spread of rumours and more protests, NDTV reported.

 The news of the clashes comes even as the government has heightened security across the state ahead of the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on Sunday. The government has also imposed restrictions on the movement of civilians in several parts of Srinagar, and imposed a curfew in Wani’s hometown, Tral.

The protests erupted as the Valley was observing a shutdown, called by separatist leaders in response to National Investigation Agency detaining separatist leader Asiya Andrabi.

 Meanwhile, the National Conference has condemned the civilian killings. Party’s provincial president (Kashmir) Nasir Aslam Wani condemned the killing of three civilians in Kulgam allegedly in security forces’ firing. “We condemn the killings. We had hoped that such killings would stop but it was still continuing. We appeal to the governor to stop these killings,” he said.

Sagar said the NC had a clear policy that “oppression and suppression…are no options. It is a political issue and has to be resolved politically”.

With inputs from PTI