Islamabad: At least 17 Kashmiri youth were martyred after Indian troops conducted cordon and search operations in the Indian Held Kashmir’s Islamabad and Shopian districts, according to the Kashmir Media Service.
Director General of Police SP Vaid said in a statement that 13 ‘suspected militants’ were killed in two gunfights with Indian forces in south Kashmir districts. Seven of the martyrs were shot dead in Dragad and four in Kachdoora areas of Shopian district. Two civilians, identified as Jan Mohammad Lone and Zubair Ahmad Butt, succumbed to their injuries in hospital. Jan Muhammad Lone was a resident of Braipora, Shopian, while Zubair Ahmad Butt belonged to Gopalpora, Kulgam.
Earlier, the Indian troops martyred a youth identified as Rouf Bashir Khanday in an overnight operation at Dialgam in Islamabad district. Some of the martyred youth were identified as Yawar Itoo, Nazim Nazir, Adil Thokar, Ubair Shafi Malla, Rais Thokar, Ishafaq Malik and Zubair Turay.
Moreover, around hundreds of civilians were injured when Indian forces used brute force and fired pellets, bullets and teargas shells on protesters in Dragad and Kachdora areas.
Medical Superintendent (MS) District Hospital Shopian Dr Shafat told the media that they received over 50 injured. Many of them were shifted to Srinagar hospitals for further treatment. “We are unable to maintain the record of the injured because of the heavy rush,” Dr Shafat said.
According to the Indian media, the encounters, which began late on Saturday, ended in Peth Dialgam area of Anantnag on Sunday morning but were continuing in Dragad and Kachdoora villages of Shopian.
The IHK police claimed that three Indian soldiers and 13 ‘suspected militants’ died in the IHK clashes. It said four civilians were also killed and dozens injured when police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who poured onto the streets, throwing stones and chanting slogans against the Indian rule. There were also demonstrations in Srinagar, where authorities ordered all schools shut on Monday.
Indian military spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the operation at Dialgam, conducted by police, army, and CRPF, was over and arms and ammunition were recovered from the site.
Following the brutal operation, the people in the IHK called for a two-day shutdown across the territory. Call for the strike has been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik against the killings.
Meanwhile, scores of students of Kashmir University (KU) staged a protest at Zakura campus in Srinagar against the killings in Shopian and Islamabad. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesting students carried banners reading, ‘End Occupation, Free Kashmir’.
Many civilians in the IHK support freedom movement leaders who have been fighting for decades for independence or for a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have died.
Pakistan condemned the violence as a “mindless killing spree” and said those slaughtered were innocents. “Such cowardly actions of the occupying forces only serve to fortify the resolve of the Kashmiri people,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The Foreign Office further said that the Indian forces were continuing a crackdown on unarmed protesters in occupied Kashmir and India had suspended internet connectivity to drown the voices of people. The statement further added that India was playing the part of a court, lawyer, and executioner for the mass execution of Kashmiris.
Last year was the deadliest of this decade in the region, with more than 200 youth accused of militancy were martyred in a counter-insurgency offensive dubbed “Operation All Out”. That upsurge in violence has escalated in 2018, with 51 youth accused of militancy already killed this year.
The PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the killing of innocent Kashmiris by the Indian forces and demanded the United Nations to take notice of this bloodshed.
In a statement issued, Zardari said that India is violating human rights in Kashmir for a long time, which is a violation of the UN Charter. He said that the voice of the Kashmiri people will not be silenced and the PPP will continue to support the just cause of Kashmir through diplomatic and moral means