Srinagar, December 30: Curfew continued in parts of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district for the third consecutive day today and will be in place tomorrow also after clashes broke out between residents and security forces in the district earlier this week. The clashes broke out following a gunfight that led to the killing of two militants and subsequent firing on civilians in which seven people were injured.
The restrictions on movement of civilians were put in place in the Pulwama town and adjoining areas on Friday when seven civilians were hit by bullets, triggering protests. The restrictions continued throughout the day yesterday and today and will also be in place for fourth day tomorrow, a senior official said.
The official, requesting anonymity, said curfew will also be imposed on Monday to prevent protests which may erupt as the hardline separatist group led by Syed Ali Geelani has called for shutdown against the firing on civilians.
There were also fresh clashes in the Pulwama town where protesters hurled stones at the police and paramilitary forces, who were deployed in strength to impose the restrictions.
Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel manned the streets and roads in and around Pulwama town to implement the restrictions, which were imposed to prevent protests over the firing on civilians.
The circumstances in which the seven people were hit by bullets remained unclear as the police version, Army’s account and the injured civilians’ account clashed with each other.
While the police claimed the seven were injured in a “retaliatory action” when a “mob” attacked an ambulance at Pulwama town carrying an injured Army Major for treatment, the Army said its personnel had not fired on civilians as its ambulance was being escorted by only a police vehicle and not the Army vehicle.
The injured civilians, admitted at a hospital in Srinagar, had alleged they were fired “without provocation” from an Army vehicle.
The state government has launched an investigation into the incident by appointing an Additional District Magistrate to conduct the probe.
A senior doctor at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) told The Tribune that three patients admitted to the hospital were now stable. One of the wounded civilians, who was earlier critical after suffering a brain injury in the firing incident, had to undergo a brain surgery and is now “out of danger”, the doctor said.
Two Laskhar-e-Toiba militants were killed on Friday morning and three security personnel, including two officers, were injured in the gunfight at a village in Pulwama.