–Two killed in clashes with Indian security forces, several others injured as troops fire pellet guns and tear gas on protesting Kashmiris
ISLAMABAD: In Indian occupied Kashmir, two young boys were killed and dozens injured during clashes between protesters and the Indian troops in Srinagar on Saturday even as men, women and children dressed in their best thronged mosques and public areas across the valley for Eidul Fitr celebrations.
According to Kashmir Media Service, 18-year-old Sheeraz Ahmed was hurt during the clashes at Brakpora in Islamabad district and later succumbed to his injuries while 15-year-old Waqas Ahmad Rather was killed in indiscriminate firing by Indian troops at Nowpora in Pulwama district. Dozens were injured in pellet firing, bullets and teargas shells, triggering further clashes in Islamabad town. Two youth hit by pellets in their eyes were referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment. At least 12 youth were injured in the forces’ action. All the injured were shifted to District Hospital Islamabad for treatment.
At least seven youth were injured during clashes in south Kashmir’s Shopian town on Saturday morning. Scores of youth took to the streets in the town after Eid prayers. The personnel of Central Reserve Police Force deployed there fired pellets and teargas into the protesters, causing injuries to seven youth. The injured were shifted to a local hospital for treatment. Clashes between protestors and troops were reported from Sopore and Kupwara areas in north Kashmir.
India had said on Sunday it was resuming military operations against militants after a rare 30-day suspension for Ramzan expired, with a top minister blaming militant attacks.
Army operations were halted on May 16 at the start of the fasting month, despite a months-long escalation of violence in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
Troops would stop the pursuit of militants and door-to-door house searches but would still retaliate if attacked, officials said at the time.
“While the security forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the militants have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs (security forces), resulting in deaths and injuries,” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.
“The security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent militants from launching attacks and indulging in violence,” Singh added.
“The government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations” in held Kashmir, Singh’s office said in a separate statement on Twitter.
“The operations against militants to resume,” it added.
The government’s suspension had failed to halt the mounting death toll in India-held Kashmir, which is also claimed by Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to extend the initiative, amid a heated debate on the move.
It was the first time in almost two decades that Indian authorities had suspended military operations against militants.
The killing of the abducted soldier and the shooting last week of a leading Kashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari, put pressure on the government to resume operations.
The home minister said the suspension had been ordered “in the interests of the peace-loving people” of Kashmir “to provide them a conductive atmosphere to observe Ramadan”.
Violence in held Kashmir has escalated since Indian troops killed a top militant commander in 2016. Last year was the deadliest in the region for the past decade.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947 and the two nations have fought two wars over the territory.
Militant groups seek independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.
India accuses Pakistan of arming the rebels but Islamabad says it only gives diplomatic and moral support.