Dozens injured as security forces fire on protesters in Kashmir

Hundreds had gathered in south Kashmir in the aftermath of the killing of a militant commander by security forces on Saturday. At least one civilian is believed to be in a critical condition

January 15, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
The security forces fired on the protesters as they were shouting pro-militant slogans.

Dozens of Kashmiri protesters were injured when security forces fired on a rally on January 12. Hundreds of youth had taken to the streets and marched towards south Kashmir’s Shopian district, protesting the killing of a militant in a counterinsurgency operation. Security forces, upon hearing pro-militant slogans, intercepted them and fired indiscriminately, injuring dozens.

The newspaper, Kashmir Reader, reported that people travelled long distances to attend the funeral of militant commander, Zeenat ul Islam. Thousands of women also participated in the funeral. Internet service remained suspended in Shopian district for the third consecutive day.

A complete shutdown was observed across the major districts in Kashmir to protest against the killing of Zeenat ul Islam on Saturday night, along with Shakeel Ahmad Dar in a brief gunbattle in the Kulgam area. The incident also triggered a cycle of stone hurling protests across the State. More than 50o people lost their lives in the violence last year that includes civilians, militants and security forces.

Eyewitnesses told local newspapers that two military vehicles tried entering the funeral site to disrupt the even. However, mourners immediately hurled stones on the military vehicles. “Later forces resorted to firing, fired pellets and tear smoke shells on the gathering,” one protester, said.

Several civilians received critical bullet and pellet injuries including one woman Shokey Jan, who was run over by an army Casspir vehicle. As many as 14 civilians are been operated at Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.

Doctors operating on the injured people said the condition of one of the civilians who had suffered bullet injuries in his abdomen was very serious. “We can only comment on his condition after 24 hours as he has suffered severe perforation in abdomen and heavy blood loss as well,” Dr Saleem Tak of SMHS hospital, confirmed.

While condemning the heavy use of force on civilians, senior pro-freedom leader, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq described the government forces’ action as “undemocratic by all means and contrary to human values”.

“Kashmiris feel a deep sense of alienation and oppression, which they resent intensely. A G Noorani, the noted legal expert, commented on January 12, adding, “Another aspect that is often overlooked is Kashmiris feel that they are literally imprisoned in a cage from which almost all exit routes are barred save one, to India, which is also not without peril.”