Indian troops in Kashmir shoot seven protesters dead

“These kind of civilian casualties are the spur for youngsters in the area to pick up guns.” (AP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Indian troops in Kashmir shoot seven protesters dead

  • Government forces fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, killing two and injuring about 26 others
  • India and Pakistan each claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety

DELHI: Seven people died and dozens were wounded on Saturday when Indian security forces opened fire on civilians protesting at the death of three militants in a gun battle in Kashmir.

The fighting erupted after troops laid siege to a house in southern Pulwama where the militants were hiding. Three armed militants ran from the house into a nearby orchard, where they and one soldier were killed in a gunfight.

Amid the shooting, hundreds of villagers marched toward the orchard, shouting slogans in support of the militants and throwing stones at the troops. Six protesters were shot dead and a seventh died later in hospital from gunshot wounds.

Widespread protests broke out in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir over the killings. Security has been tightened and troops rushed to potential hotspots.

“People in the area are very angry,” one Pulwama resident told Arab News. “These kind of civilian casualties are the spur for youngsters in the area to pick up guns. If the government thinks that by killing people they can scare them, they are living in a fool’s paradise. More and more youth are picking up guns in anger.”

BJP Kashmir spokesman Altaf Thakur blamed separatists for “misleading the youth of Kashmir.”

“Any death is a tragedy,” he told Arab News, “but I would like to put responsibility on those separatist groups who incite young people to pick up guns or become stone throwers in the name of independence. They don’t know they will lose their lives as a result.

“Most people in Kashmir want to live peacefully with India. Only a small section wants to create disturbances. Such people come in the way of peace.”


Fears grow as ‘chamki’ fever kills 100 children in Bihar

Updated 17 June 2019
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Fears grow as ‘chamki’ fever kills 100 children in Bihar

  • Multi-disciplinary institute planned to identify reason behind disease
  • Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, caused by viruses. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting

NEW DELHI: When Arun Ram took his four-year-old daughter Sandhya Kumari to hospital in late May, he thought she was suffering from fever brought on by a seasonal virus.

But within 12 hours of her admission his daughter had died.

The initially mild fever had run out of control, causing mental disorientation, seizures and delirium.

Kumari was among more than 100 children who fell victim to acute encephalitis syndrome in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

The state’s central districts of Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran are worst affected. Official estimates suggest a death toll of 130, with 15 children under the age of 10 dying on Sunday alone.

Locally, the syndrome is known as “chamki” fever.

“In my hospital, 291 patients have been admitted, 91 have been discharged and 83 have lost their lives up until Monday,” said Dr. Sunil Kumar Sahi, medical superintendent of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur.

“The cause of the death is not known,” he told Arab News.

“This is matter of research. We follow a medical protocol in treating such patients because all the children are suffering from inflammation of brain or encephalopathy.

“We are telling the people that they should not come out in the heat, and they should eat on time. If there is a fever, they should take a cold bath and take medicine.” 

Sanjay Kumar, Bihar government’s principal secretary, said that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts in central Bihar.

On Sunday, a five-year-old girl died in front of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan while he was visiting the hospital.

“The situation is really grim in the area adjoining Muzaffarpur. The death toll has reached 127, but government data is still not giving a clear picture,” Raj Kumar, a local reporter, said.

The government has announced it will set up a 100-bed hospital to ease the growing concern in the region. 

A team of doctors has been deployed in central Bihar’s main hospitals to handle the growing number of cases.

“A multi-disciplinary institute will be set up here in the next year to identify the reason behind this disease,” the health minister said.