Kashmir Unrest: Teenager Killed in Fresh Clashes

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SRINAGAR: A 15-year-old boy was killed on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and violent protesters in Sopore area of north Kashmir Baramulla district, taking the death toll in the ongoing unrest in the Valley to 69.
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Danish Manzoor and six other persons sustained injuries when security forces allegedly opened fire at stone-pelting protesters in Lodora in Sopore area, a police official said.

He said Danish succumbed to injuries while being shifted to a hospital in Sopore town. With this death, the toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir has gone up to 69.

The fresh clashes occurred even as authorities lifted curfew from all areas of Kashmir on Wednesday after 53 days.

“There is no curfew anywhere in Kashmir on Wednesday. It has been lifted even from the two police station areas in Srinagar — MR Gunj and Nowhatta — the only places in the Valley where the curbs were in place yesterday,” a police official said earlier. He said the improvement in situation across Kashmir prompted authorities to lift curfew.

Security forces have been deployed in strength in sensitive areas of the Valley to maintain law and order, the official said.

Greater movement of vehicular traffic and people was observed in major areas of the Valley, the official said.

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In Srinagar city, where authorities lifted the curfew on Monday, private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen on roads in and around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk.

However, normal life remained disrupted in many other areas of the Valley.

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions and shops remained closed.

The attendance in government offices and work in banks has witnessed improvement since Monday, the official said.

Curfew was clamped in entire Valley on July 9 following violence in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in south Kashmir s Anantnag district a day earlier.

The separatist camp, which is spearheading the agitation in the Valley, has extended their strike call till Thursday.

Meanwhile, mobile Internet continued to remain suspended in the entire Valley, where the outgoing facility on prepaid mobiles remained barred.

“Restrictions preventing assembly of five or more persons under section 144 CrPc will remain in force,” a police official said. After the security forces were removed from Nowhatta area of old Srinagar city on Wednesday morning, youths took to the roads.

Security forces were rushed back to quell the protests after which the protesters started pelting stones at them.

Similar clashes were witnessed in Tengpora area and north Kashmir’s Sopore town.

People were seen buying vegetables, milk, bread and other essentials of life on Wednesday morning from vendors and bakers in Srinagar city.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pulled up the bureaucracy for delays in the completion of the development projects in the state and asked them to complete projects in a time-bound manner, without taking advantage of the unrest in the Valley.

“Please help the government as Jammu and Kashmir is passing through tough times as we are working hard to bring normalcy in the Kashmir Valley. That does not mean that you will take benefit of that (unrest) and will do nothing here (in Jammu) by saying that nobody is watching us,” she told officials at a meeting.

She said that “huge amount of money” has come from the government of India for projects like hospitals, educational institutions and tourism, roads and there will be no shortage of funds “even if we keep spending” this money.