New Delhi: Contrary to the central government’s claims that Jammu and Kashmir has been peaceful since it was stripped of its special status on August 5, there have been 306 incidents of stone pelting in the last two months.
According to an internal document of the security forces, close to a 100 security personnel, including 89 from the central paramilitary forces, have been injured in the stone pelting protests sparked by the government’s move to effectively scrap Article 370 of the Constitution.
The J&K administration has maintained that except for sporadic stone pelting incidents, Kashmir Valley has been peaceful and there have been far fewer protests than what was seen in the 2016 agitation post Burhan Wani's death. In the first six months of 2019, there had only been around 40 incidents of stone pelting, officials had earlier said.
On August 6, Parliament approved abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.
In apprehension of a huge backlash, the state was placed under an unprecedented security cover. Apart from deployment of extra troops in what was already the most militarized region of the world, the government imposed severe restrictions on movement, snapped phone and internet lines, and detained nearly 4,000 people by various estimates, including the entire mainstream political class.
According to government record, in these two months, security forces have undertaken five encounters in which two security personnel have been killed and nine have been injured. Special Police officer Bilal Ahmed had died in Baramullah on August 21 during an operation in the Gannie-Hamam area. The encounter had also grievously injured sub-inspector Amardeep Parihar.
The encounters have led to the death of 10 militants, records said. There have also been two incidents of grenade lobbying and on two occasions, attempts were made to snatch weapons of security forces. The CRPF camp in Kashmir also came under attack once from valley-based terror groups but no one was injured.
While the government has maintained that “not a single bullet has been fired and not a single person has died”, there has been at least one recorded unnatural death in the time frame. A Class XI student, Asrar Ahmed Khan, whose family claimed was injured in pellet gun firing after a procession was taken out in Soura area of Srinagar, had succumbed to his injuries on September 4. The Army, however, had denied that the boy succumbed to pellet injuries and said he had died during stone pelting.