Speaking first time on the pro-freedom protests in Kashmir valley, state Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah while addressing a press conference here at Srinagar on Tuesday evening apologized to people for the recent killings in valley and said, “Mein haath jod ke logo se appeal karta hun ki woh meri government ki madaad kare” (I hand foldedly appeal people of valley to help my government).
He called the press conference following the turmoil in the valley after eleven teenagers were killed by Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) and JK Police in Sopore, Baramulla, Islamabad and Srinagar in just nineteen days.
While accepting that the situation in valley is not a law and order problem, he said, “The situation in valley is not a law and order problem.”
Saying the violence was not a result of bad governance but that of anti-national forces and vested interests coming together who exploit emotional and angry youngsters to protest.” He also impressed upon the people that they should not allow the anger of the youth to be exploited.
He asked parents, religious heads and political leaders to help restore calm in the state and in particular restrain the youth. “As a parent, I appeal to parents to counsel their kids and to keep them at home, not to engage forces in stone pelting,” Omar said. The last few days have seen the death of several young people, including a nine-year-old boy on Monday, as protesters have clashed with security forces, compelling them to use force.
“It takes two hands to clap, to expect security forces to constantly show restraint while you are constantly seeking to engage them, stone-pelt them, mercilessly beat those officers fallen on the ground – these actions result in what we are facing. Please help the government to restore order. Curfew must be respected. Security forces have been asked to use all restraint possible but they have to maintain curfew,” the CM said.
These are the faces of twelve teenagers who are killed by police and CRPF during protests in valley.
It’s pertinent to mention here that the protests broke out in the valley after a 17-year-old youth, Tufail Ahmad Mattoo son of Muhammad Ashraf Mattoo of Saida Kadal was killed by police in Rajouri Kadal area on June 11. He was a 12th class student returning back from his math tuitions when he was hit by a tear gas shell at head which autopsy report later confirmed.
When the news of Tufail’s death spread, angry youth came on streets to protest during which one Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo, 22 son of Muhammad Rafiq Bangroo of Safa Kadal was beaten up by paramilitary forces in old city. He was shifted to S K Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura where he later succumbed to injuries at 10:55 pm on June 19.
On June 20 when the Rafiq’s neaighbours, friends, relatives protested against the state forces they pelted some stones on a CRPF vehicle in response to which CRPF personnel’s resorted to firing. A 19-year-old teenager, Javaid Ahmada Malla son of Ghulam Ahmad Malla of Noorbagh was hit by a bullet on neck leaving him dead on spot.
Four days after three youths were laid to rest in city; on June 25 paramilitary forces resorted to indiscriminate firing at Chankhan, Sopore when the people were requesting for the dead bodies of two militants, killed in an encounter at Sopore. During firing two youths, Shakeel Ahmad Ganai, 24, of Lalad, Sopore and Firdous Ahmad Kakroo of Niglie, Sopore died on spot.
Just one day after two youths were killed in Sopore, on June 27, one 22-year-old Bilal Ahmad Wani son of Muhammad Maqbool Wani of Kralteng, Sopore was killed in CRPF firing when he was on way to mosque to offer prayers.
In response to the Sopore Chalo call given by the Hurriyat Conference, when a peaceful procession was leading towards Sopore on June 28, troopers and SOG men fired indiscriminately on them near Wadoora. In this firing, a first year bachelor’s student, Tajamul Bashir Bhat, 20, son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat was hit by a bullet on.
Thousands of people led a peaceful protest march from Srinagar to Sopore on June 28 which was intercepted by police near Hokersar. Police fired several rounds of bullets and tear gas shells part from baton charge to stop the procession before Narbal. Nearly 20 persons were injured in the stone pelting which started after the procession was not allowed to move and was faced with force.
On the same day, on June 28, a 9-year-old kid, Tauqeer Ahmad Rather son of Ghulam Ahmad Rather of Delina was shot dead by CRPF and police in Delina when a peaceful procession was marching towards Sopore.
Meanwhile, three teenagers were shot dead and three others are seriously injured in police and CRPF firing in South Kashmir’s Islamabad district on June 29. Teenagers have been identified as Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khanday, 15, son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday, Imtiyaz Ahmad Itoo, 18, son of Ghulam Mohammad Itoo, and Sajad Ahmad whose age and parentage are not confirmed yet.
Ishtiyaq was a class tenth student while Imtiyaz was working at a bakery shop. All the three were residents of SK Colony Islamabad. Earlier in the day, the CRPF opened fire on a protest demonstration, injuring 15-year-old Ashiq Ahmad who received two bullets in his leg.