A complete shutdown was observed on Monday in Indian administered Kashmir after seven civilians were killed when an unexploded shell went off on Sunday, shortly after Indian forces killed three militants in southern Kulgam. More than 40 civilians were also injured in the explosion that ripped off the building. The explosion that happened in the morning triggered massive protests across the region in which dozens of civilians received pellets and tear gas shell injuries. Among the seven civilians, one is a minor, Uzair Ahmad (13) from Rishipora village.
After the gunfight between the police and militants concluded on Sunday morning, hundreds of youth, some of whom were hurling stones towards the Indian forces near the encounter site, rushed to the premises of the house where Indian forces had killed the three militants. What followed after was a deafening blast that left seven civilians dead and scores of persons injured, and the entire neighbourhood was engulfed in chaos. Internet service was immediately snubbed in southern Kashmir.
“At about 11:30 I rushed toward the spot where the blast took place. I saw injured persons scattered all around. I saw a person with no hands. One person’s chest bones were visible. Blood was oozing from another person’s head,” local photojournalist, Muneeb-ul-Islam told Outlook.
The Joint Resistant Leadership (JRL), comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer and Yaseen Malik, in their petition to Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General United Nations, in a petition noted that the state [Kashmir) is run by a New Delhi appointed Governor with military, paramilitary and police forces at his command who “are hell-bent on crushing the popular political movement of self determination by Kashmiris with bullets and batons.” The petition dated October 22, also noted, “The overwhelming boycott (over 95%) by the people of Kashmir of the recently held Urban Local Bodies’ Elections in Kashmir has further frustrated the Indian authorities who have stepped up their vendetta against the people.”
On October 19, in a similar gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, one 25-year-old Firdousa, who was pregnant, was killed when a bullet hit her neck in the courtyard of her house. On October 18, another civilian, Rayees Habibullah Sofi was allegedly tortured and killed during a gunfight between the police and militants in Srinagar city.
In January this year, a report in TRT World pointed out to a large number of deaths, mostly children, due to unexploded shells going off. Indian forces use high-intensity explosives to target militants and many a time they leave behind live ammunition in civilian areas due to lack of proper area sanitization [clearing off the area of unexploded shells and explosives post an operation], which has led to several casualties.