Youth killed in forces’ retaliatory action in Pulwama

SRINAGAR: A youth was killed and several others were injured when security forces opened fire, burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse demonstrators during Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Pulwama in South Kashmir on Monday. As the security forces launched CASO in over a dozen villages in Pulwama, people at Muran, a number of people hit the streets and tried to disrupt the operation. Security forces resorted to lathi-charge and burst teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, who were trying to disrupt operation by pelting stones. Similar clashes took place at Gusoo in Pulwama, where security forces opened fire and burst teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, pelting stones.
Several persons, including some security personnel were injured in the clashes. One of protestor received a bullet injury in head and was immediately rushed to local hospital from where he was referred to Srinagar in a critical condition. Later, the injured succumbed in the hospital. Mobile internet service has been suspended as a precautionary measure in area and clashes were going on when the reports last came in.
Meanwhile, separatists in Kashmir on Monday called for a boycott of Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls scheduled to be held from next month.
A statement in this regard was issued after a meeting of the so called Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Geelani’s residence in Hyderpora. It alleged that the Centre wants to ‘thrust and enforce’ Panchayat and Municipal elections upon the people of Kashmir and that ‘New Delhi has never believed in empowering people of J&K or the institutions here’. Elections have ‘only been a means’ to further strengthen ‘New Delhi’s hold on J&K’, the statement alleged.
Despite similar boycott calls by separatists, Jammu and Kashmir registered its highest voter turn-out in 2014 Assembly elections in the last 25 years with an estimated 65% of electorate casting their votes. The last panchayat elections in the State were held in April-May 2011 with a record voter turnout of 80%. The panchayat elections were scheduled to be held in 2016 but were put off due to unrest in the Valley after killing of HM militant Burhan Wani.