2 Killed In Fresh Clashes In Kashmir, Civilian Deaths Rise To 78

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Violent protests have defied a curfew in Kashmir for 2 months since terrorist Burhan Wani's killing.

Srinagar: 

Highlights

  1. One civilian killed from pellet injuries, another hit by teargas shell
  2. Fresh clashes between protesters and security forces in Anantnag, Shopian
  3. 78 people including one security personnel have been killed since July 8
As the government prepares for the army to have a larger footprint in south Kashmir, the fragility of the situation was reinforced today with two more civilian deaths after clashes between protesters and security forces.

In Shopian district, 26-year-old Sayar Ahmad Sheikh was killed when he was hit by a teargas shell. Several others were injured.

Another young man was killed in neighbouring Anantnag district after security forces used pellet guns on protesting crowds. 23-year-old Yawar Bhat died on the spot after being hit by pellets.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was "very upset" to hear about the death of the two protesters.   

"Another youth killed in Shopian and it is extremely saddening. The doctors who are working in the valley are doing it 24 hours, without going home," she said.

Though more than 4,000 Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) shells have been brought into the Valley to minimise the use of pellet guns, they have still not been completely banned. The government says it is left to the field commanders to make an assessment on when they are needed.

A key demand of the opposition parties during the all-party delegation to the Valley was a complete ban on these pellet guns that have led to many Kashmiris being partially or permanently blinded. But today former army chief and union minister General VK Singh weighed in on the side of using these pump action guns.

"Pellet firing is non-lethal. The Home Minister's (Rajnath Singh) decision was sensible and well-thought. People who come close to firing get injuries," General VK Singh said.

Kashmir has been crippled by unrest for over two months, ever since 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed by security forces on July 8. 78 people have died in the violent protests and clashes; nearly 10,000 have been injured, many of them security forces. Most parts have been under continuous curfew with schools and colleges closed for two months.

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