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Valley protests against Afzal hanging: Death toll rises to three

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Valley protests against Afzal hanging: Death toll rises to three
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Srinagar: Yet another youth shot in firing by security forces during protests in the Kashmir Valley against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru died early on Monday, taking the toll to three since clashes broke out last Saturday.

The Jammu and Kashmir government announced a magisterial inquiry into the incidents that have led to three youths dying during the protests, even as the Valley remained under curfew for the third day on Monday.

"Concerned deputy commissioners and SSPs (of Ganderbal and Baramulla districts) were directed to lodge FIRs and conduct magisterial enquiry into the death cases immediately," an official spokesman quoting divisional commissioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon said.

The situation on Monday was peaceful so far with no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the Valley, official sources said. Ubaid Mushtaq, who was injured allegedly in firing by security forces at Watergam village in Baramulla district yesterday, succumbed to injuries at 3 AM, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Hospital Aijaz Mustafa said.

Two youths drowned in a river in Ganderbal yesterday when they tried to escape security personnel while being chased during a demonstration by protesters. The body of one of the youths—Zameer Ahmad Dar—was fished out from Jhelum river in Ganderbal district this morning, official sources said. The other youth who drowned was identified as Tariq Ahmad Bhat.

An irrate mob thrashed Executive Magistrate Ganderbal Ghulam Mohammad Khatana and his personal security guard Fayaz Ahmad as body of Dar was being taken to Sub-District Hospital for post-mortem, official sources said.

Sources added Khatana and his guard had to be rescued by police by firing tear smoke shells at the protesters. The two were admitted to a hospital for treatment. Restrictions on the movement of people in the Valley were also further tightened in view of apprehension of widespread protests to commemorate the 29th death anniversary of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Bhat, who was sentenced to death for murder of a police officer, was hanged inside Tihar Jail on this day in 1984. As many as 14 companies of BSF were rushed to Kashmir Valley from Jammu to beef up the security apparatus. Ten additional companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are also due to arrive in Jammu from Delhi and are being rushed to Kashmir Valley.

An official spokesman said divisional commissioner Kashmir, Asgar Samoon visited the injured persons at a hospital here and sanctioned Rs1 lakh ex-gratia in favour of the three persons who died during the protests. "The Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon announced Rs1 lakh in favour of next of kin of two persons of Ganderbal, who died due to drowning and the youth who died in Watergam village," the spokesman said.

Samoon said he has kept three Red Cross ambulances for any emergencies for public, in addition to the ambulances of government departments.

Meanwhile, mobile Internet services remained down for the third day as a precautionary measure. Newspapers also failed to hit stands this morning due to curfew.

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