Three civilians were killed and scores wounded in Kashmir on Friday as authorities extended a curfew in the face of fierce protests. Senior separatist leaders were arrested in order to thwart their scheduled march towards the popular Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar.
Kashmir has been under rolling curfew since the killing of Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. His death has sparked violent protests in the Valley that have killed at least 56 people, including Friday’s victims, and wounded thousands.
Mohammad Maqbool Wagay of Nagam in Chadoora of Budgam district died of a bullet injury after security forces fired at protesters. Another youth, identified as Zahoor Ahmed, was declared dead at Srinagar’s SMHS hospital.Daanish Rasool of Wagoora area in Baramulla succumbed to injuries suffered during clashes in Sopore.
Anger gripped the SMHS hospital complex after protesters offered funeral prayers for Zahoor and raised pro-Azaadi slogans, even as ambulances rushed inside the hospital with injured from across Kashmir.
Severe clashes were reported across the Valley — from Shopian, Kangan, Anantnag, Budgam, Pulwama, Tral and Sopore — leaving more than 100 injured, according to reports.
Head of hardliner Hurriyat faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the chief of the moderate faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were arrested near their residences as they tried to march to the Hazratbal shrine.
A strict curfew was in place across the city, especially around the famous shrine, as the police disallowed the march and even the afternoon congregational prayers.
Authorities also kept a close eye on the Dal Lake since Geelani had urged people to travel to the famous shrine on boats and shikaras.
Separatists extended their shutdown call till August 12, saying there will be no relaxation after 6pm. They asked people to “assemble and occupy local chowks and centres from Asar to Magrib in the vicinity of mohallas, villages and localities” on Saturday.