Two persons including a nine-year- old boy were killed on Monday during firing by CRPF in Kashmir valley to quell violence and clashes with mobs protesting against fatal shootings involving security forces.
Public Engineering Minister and Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin said tonight help of Army may be taken to defuse the tense situation in Sopore and Baramulla if the circumstances warranted.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also took stock of the situation at a high-level meeting.
Forty-eight persons including 32 policemen were also injured in the latest of a series of clashes with security forces, official sources said. The clashes have claimed the lives of five persons since June 25 and eight in the last three weeks.
The clashes erupted as security forces used force to prevent thousands of people from marching towards curfew-bound Sopore township of Baramulla district in violation of prohibitory orders, on the call given by moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference as part of a protest against the killing of "innocent youth" over the past two weeks.
The first fatal casualty of the day was reported from Sopore township, 55 kms from here, where people again defied curfew imposed on Friday and staged a massive demonstration against the killing of Bilal Ahmad Wani allegedly in CRPF firing last evening.
The deceased identified as Tajamul ahmad Bhat (20), a resident of Wadoora, was part of a mob which allegedly tried to demolish a CRPF post near a hospital in the town when the CRPF personnel manning the picket opened fire killing him on the spot, a police spokesman said.
Refuting the police statement, Locals alleged that CRPF personnel opened fire without any provocation on the protestors who were marching towards the town to join the people protesting against the killing of Wani and two other youth who fell to the bullets of CRPF on June 25.
CRPF said it was forced to open fire in self defence following a clear case of attempt to attack the post of security forces. Home Secretary G K Pillai said the CRPF has acted with utmost restraint.
While the situation was tense in Sopore, hundreds of people from different villages of Baramulla started marching towards Sopore but were stopped by police and CRPF at Delina, 45 kms from here.
The CRPF personnel reportedly opened fire leaving two persons including a minor boy injured. The nine-year-old boy identified as Tauqeer Ahmad Rather later succumbed in a hospital, official sources said.
The call for march to Sopore was given by moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference but all the senior leaders of the separatist amalgam including its chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq were placed under house arrest by the authorities in a bid to prevent the march, fearing large scale violence.
In addition, several top separatist leaders including JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik, National Front Chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Muslim Khawateen Markaz Chief Yasmeen Raja were detained by police.
The state government meanwhile appointed Mohammed Shafi Khan as Special Commissioner for Sopore and Pankaj Saxena as Special Inspector General to defuse the tense situation in the apple town in north Kashmir.
Soon after the body of Wani was handed over to his next of kin, the locals in Sopore came out in large numbers and staged demonstration throughout the night against the killing.
The body was taken in a procession to different localities in the town and was laid to rest at the local martyrs' graveyard this morning amid massive protests.
Official sources said Policemen fired in air when the protestors reached Sopore's main chowk demanding withdrawal of CRPF camps from the town, which had witnessed surge in militancy-related violence since December last year.
CRPF on Monday said it was forced to open fire at a mob in Jammu and Kashmir, which claimed one life, as the protestors had attacked the force's post outside Sopore town.
The CRPF said it had no option but to open fire to secure the post, where local police had taken shelter, from the stone-pelting mob.
The paramilitary force in a statement said that at 12:30 PM, a mob of about 700 attacked a CRPF company location at Kapra theatre located outside Sopore town on Kupwara road.
"The post had only the minimal strength of men for attending to camp security as the other men were away on duty. The J and K police had deployed a section of unarmed men for law and order duty at the naka (cordon), outside the company location. Their task was to prevent the mob from entering into the town, as part of the call for 'Sopore Chalo'.
"The mob attacked the J and K policemen by pelting stones. When the situation became bad, these men rushed inside the CRPF camp to take shelter. The mob pushed on, attacked the CRPF post and forcibly tried to enter the CRPF post location by scaling the compound wall," the CRPF said.
It said that at this juncture, sensing imminent threat of being run over, the sentry of CRPF, at the 'morcha' inside the post, was compelled to open fire.
"Later, it was learnt that the bullet hit a person in the riotous mob and that he subsequently died in the hospital. He has been identified as Tajmul Islam.
"This was a clear case of attempt to attack the post of security force, which was foiled by timely intervention of the sentry on duty. In fact, the sentry had no option but to fire, to prevent the post being overrun," the statement said.PTI