Protests swelled in Kulgam and adjacent areas in South Kashmir on Saturday afternoon after the villagers received three bodies of civilians including a teenage girl. While the villagers claimed before the media that government forces resorted to direct firing on the protesters, the police spokesman said the forces opened fire after coming under heavy stone-pelting in the area.

A senior police officer said that protests erupted while government forces were trying to cordon Hawoora village at Redwani in Kulgam district of South Kashmir on Saturday morning. Local reports said that hundreds of villagers, including women and children, came on to the streets and started protesting.

All the mainstream political parties have denounced the civilian killings. Expressing shock over the incident, Kulgam MLA Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami has demanded a probe by the state administration into the incident.

An official spokesman said here that three civilians, who were injured in the firing by the forces, succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. The deceased have been identified as Shakir Ahmad Khanday (22), Irshad Ahmad (20) and Andleeb Jan (16).

Latest reports from the area said that protests were going on while the forces have been deployed in strength and restrictions have been imposed in entire Kulgam district. Authorities have suspended rail services from Qazigund to Baramulla and have also suspended internet services in entire South Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the authorities announced a curfew in Tral town on Saturday morning to avoid any gathering in the area on the second death anniversary of Burhan Wani. The separatists have given a call for protests and for the public gathering at Tral on Sunday. The authorities have responded by deploying more security forces in entire South Kashmir and in all the sensitive areas of Srinagar to avoid any violence. On Saturday, life was thrown out of gear in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir on the call of the separatists  against the arrest and shifting of Asiya Andrabi along with her two lady colleagues to Delhi and their remand to NIA for 10 days. The separatosts claimed that BJP was trying to frame Kashmiri leadership with an eye on the elections of 2019.

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