Conflict

Kulgam civilian death toll reaches seven as another injured youth succumbs

Srinagar: Another youth, identified as Javed Ahmad Lone who was injured in a blast at the gunfight site in Kulgam died at a hospital in Srinagar.

With Lone’s death, the civilian toll has gone up to seven. Lone, a resident of Hawoora village of Khudwani died on Sunday night due to serious injuries which he had sustained in the explosion.

His body was taken to his native village this morning for burial.

Witnesses said thousands of people participated in the funeral of the youth amidst pro-freedom slogans. After funeral, groups of youth clashed with government forces in Khudwani.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown is being observed in Kashmir in the aftermath of the Kulgam carnage.

Here in Srinagar, all shops, educational institutions, banks and fuel stations remained closed in response to the shutdown called by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), Kashmir Reader reported, citing witnesses. The strike also witnessed thin flow of traffic on the otherwise busy roads of this capital city.

In Srinagar’s Old City, restrictions were clamped to foil any protests against the Kulgam killings. In Nowhatta, Rajouri Kadal, Saraf Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Gojwara, Khanyar, Safa Kadal and other areas of the Old City, armed forces were keeping a tight vigil to keep protesters at bay, witnesses said. At many places, forces have laid razor wire to restrict movement of people.

The news about the Kulgam killings spread like wild fire on Sunday and public movement in Srinagar city and major towns of Kashmir valley virtually came to a grinding halt as passenger transport vehicles were rarely moving on very few roads in the Srinagar city.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the Joint Resistance Leadership said that Kashmir has been turned into “a slaughterhouse where no one—young, old, children or women—is safe.”

Calling the Kulgam killings as ‘terrible news’, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday asked “how long can the ground realities be ignored and living in denial of bad situation in Kashmir.”

“Terrible news coming out from Kulgam.May the deceased find place in Jannat. Alienating the people in the fight against militancy is a sure fire recipe for losing the fight. How long can we go on ignoring the ground realities & living in denial about how bad things are in Kashmir?” Omar wrote on Twitter.

PDP President and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti also expressed shock over the death of seven civilians and injuries to scores others in Kulgam.

Kashmir Economic Alliance chairperson (KEA) Muhammad Yaseen Khan on Sunday strongly condemned the innocent killings in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district which has left seven civilians dead and dozens seriously injured.

Blaming government forces for carrying a ‘planned massacre’ in state, KTMF president termed it sheer cowardice and an inhuman act.

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