Back in the capital after his 4-nation African tour Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a high-level meeting on Tuesday with top officials to take stock of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir that continues to be tense for the fourth day and has also sparked fresh tension between India and Pakistan.
Delhi: PM Narendra Modi holds a meeting on law & order situation in Jammu and Kashmir. pic.twitter.com/JcGJ0SNcqg
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 12, 2016
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh meanwhile cancelled his US trip and deferred it till September. Singh was supposed to lead the Indian delegation at the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue to be
held in Washington with the US team.
The valley which has witnessed severe clashes between protesters and security forces in the past three days over the death of a top militant Burhan Wani has left at least 32 dead and scores injured.
Normal life across the valley continued to be affected for the fourth day amid strict curfew and a separatist’ call to extend the two day shutdown till Wednesday.
On Monday, for the first time, police opened fire hitting two civilians in embattled Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown Bijbehara in southern Kashmir, which has accounted for all the deaths bar one since Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces on Friday.
At least 31 civilians and a police driver have been killed in clashes between the security forces and angry young demonstrators across the Kashmir Valley since Saturday, various informed sources told IANS.
But police put the death toll at 23.
Sources said nine more casualties were added to the toll after at least three people succumbed to injuries and five who had died earlier were counted on Friday.
Clashes, however, raged on in many parts of the valley as young men defied prohibitory orders to hurl stones at police and paramilitary pickets.
Bijbehara, Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown, some 40 km from here towards the south of the valley, was the latest to be consumed by the clashes, police sources told IANS.
Sources in Srinagar’s S.M.H.S. Hospital said two civilians with bullet injuries were admitted on Monday afternoon and both were from Bijbehara.
“One of them was hit in the stomach and other in his left thigh,” a doctor told IANS requesting anonymity.
Police sources said a mob set ablaze a police picket in Lassipora in Pulwama district in south Kashmir. Sopore, Handwara, Bandipora and Baramulla in north Kashmir also witnessed stone throwing incidents.
Another police camp was set on fire in north Kashmir’s Sopore town.
Radio Pakistan quoted Sharif as saying that the “massacre of citizens by Indian forces and use of brutal force against Kashmir is regrettable”.
In New Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said Pakistan should worry more about human rights violations in the “occupied Kashmir” — Indian euphemism from Pakistani Kashmir than in the valley.
The Kashmir Valley has been on an edge since Friday evening when senior militant commander Wani was killed by security forces. Wani, 22, a new face of Kashmir’s separatist war, was shot dead with two of his associates in a south Kashmir village.
Four police stations, 36 civil administration offices and dozens of vehicles have been destroyed by unruly mobs in clashes over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the government on Monday allowed the resumption of annual Amarnath pilgrimage which was suspended for three days.
“The convoy of the yatris is protected by the security forces who are escorting the pilgrims to the valley,” a police official told IANS. But the pilgrimage will be allowed only through the north Kashmir route as the southern track to the Hindu cave shrine remains blocked due to simmering tension. The shrine is located in the troubled south Kashmir.