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Six More Dead In Kashmir Violence; Toll Climbs To 21

Jammu and Kashmir continued to be on the boil on Sunday with six more people, including a police officer, killed in violence, taking the death toll in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani to 21. Curfew-like restrictions were in force and mobile Internet services remained suspended.

Amarnath Yatra also remained suspended for the second day from Jammu due to the unrest in which more than 200 people, many of them police and security personnel, have been injured. The yatra from the base camps in the Kashmir continued.

The Jammu and Kashmir cabinet, headed by the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, met and expressed anguish over the situation and the death of civilians in clashes with security forces. The state government promised to investigate if there was any instance of disproportionate use of force by securitymen even as it appealed to the people not to become tools in the machinations of instigators of violence.

The cabinet also appealed to separatists, including Hurriyat Conference, as well as mainstream political parties such as the National Conference, Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to help restore normalcy “if they want peace in the state".

In Delhi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and spoke to Mufti, assuring her of all possible help. The state police also urged protesters not to resort to violence, saying it does not bring the right consequences, and that it would like to avoid the killing of the youth.

Despite the curfew-like restrictions in several parts of the valley, violence was reported from a number of places. One person was killed on Sunday evening in reported firing by security forces in Tengpora in Srinagar, marking the first death in the capital city.

An 18-year-old youth, Irfan Ahmad Malik, was critically injured in clashes between protestors and security forces at Newa in Pulwama this morning, a police official said. He was rushed to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar but succumbed to injuries. An unidentified person succumbed to injuries after being brought to the Pulwama district hospital, the police officer said, adding efforts are on to ascertain his identity.

A police driver Feroz Ahmad was killed after a mob pushed his mobile bunker vehicle into the Jhelum river at Sangam in Anantnag district. Efforts were on to retrieve the body of the deceased cop. One more civilian was killed in a clash with security forces while another, who was injured on Saturday, succumbed to injuries, police said. In another incident, a head constable of police was shot in both legs by militants on Saturday evening at his residence in the Tral area of Pulwama, the police official quoted above said.

Three cops, who went missing after a large mob attacked a police station in Damhal Hanjipora on Saturday, are yet to be located, said the state education minister Naeem Akhtar, who is the government spokesperson. One more police post was burnt by some mobs on Sunday. Overall, the situation in valley remained under control on Sunday though incidents of arson and mob attacks were reported, said a police spokesman.

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