Srinagar, April 09: In Indian-admin Kashmir, at least eight youth including three teenage boys were shot dead and around a hundred were injured after Indian forces opened fire on demonstrators protesting against the holding of Indian parliamentary By-elections in Badgam, Srinagar and Gandarbal districts, today. The polling was totally flopped with turnout remaining below 6.5 as official figures stated.
The slain were identified as Faizan Ahmad Dar, Jan Muhammad Rathar, Nisar Ahmad, Shabbir Ahmad Butt, Aadil Ahmad Sheikh, Amir Bashir, Umar Farooq and Aqeel Ahmad Wani. These youth were martyred at Charar-e-Sharif, Beerwah, Chadoora and Narbal areas in Badgam district. At least 30 youth were hit by pellets and bullets in Soibugh area of the district alone. Two women were also among the injured.
The killing of youth led to widespread protests in many areas including Srinagar. At many places, angry protesters attacked and barged into the polling stations and forced the staff to leave before locking the polling stations. Clashes between protesters and forces’ personnel were reported in Soura, Kralpora Chadoora, Beerwah, Charar-e-Sharif and other areas of central Kashmir. Incidents of massive stone-pelting were reported from Badgam, Ganderbal and Srinagar districts. The protesters also set a polling staff vehicle on fire in Badgam.
Polling turnout remained extremely low in all the three districts due to poll boycott call, given by the joint resistance leadership. There were many such polling stations where no vote was cast till the filing of the report. These areas include Durpora-Manigam, Yangoora and Kondabal in Ganderbal and Rawalpora Khas and Dalbachi in Badgam. There were many polling stations where only 10 to 12 votes were polled. In view of silence prevailing at polling stations, Indian forces made their utmost efforts to keep media persons at bay. They even snatched cameras and mobile phones of the journalists. A reporter Yawar Hussain said that when he tried to visit polling stations at Nasrullahpora in Badgam, police men snatched his cell phone and stopped him from discharging his professional duties. All mobile and internet services were also suspended in the polling-bound districts.
The authorities continued to put almost entire Hurriyet leadership including Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Aasiya Andrabi and Nayeem Ahmed Khan either in jails or under house detention.
Meanwhile, the joint resistance leadership in a statement called for a complete two-day shutdown on Monday and Tuesday against the killing of civilian youth by Indian forces in Budgam district.