Scores injured in clashes
Despite restrictions, extensive military deployment around Kakapora town of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, thousands of people including females from adjoining hamlets participated in the funeral procession of local LeT commander Talib Hussain Shah, 22, who was killed during a gunfight with Indian Army on Thursday evening.
Eyewitnesses told CNS that the extensive military and police deployment around Kakapora and adjoining areas failed in preventing thousands of mourners from marching in the funeral procession, carrying flags and chanting against the Indian ‘occupation’.
Following the fatal encounter in which one militant was killed and two others escaped unhurt, clashes took place in Kakapora town, lasting all day long until evening hours, while at least 35 protesters were injured, two among them (Amir Bhat of Ratnipora and Firdous Ahmed of Karimabad) critically who reportedly was shifted to Srinagar for advanced treatment.
Abdul Hamid Shah, the cousin of slain militant told CNS that police authorities handed over the dead body to the family after we gave assurance to them that last rites of the martyred militant will be performed peacefully. “Despite my request to the mourners, they could not control themselves and clashed with the government forces,” he said.
Reports said that to keep people at bay, authorities imposed undeclared curfew in Kakapora and adjoining areas. Concertina wires were laid down around main bridge in Kakapora, however people forced government to retreat after they heavily targeted them with stones. Thousands of people
Witnesses said that as Talib’s body reached his native village at around 9:30 AM, more than 20,000 people amid pro-freedom slogans assembled and participated in his funeral prayers led by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district president Ghulam Mohiuddin Andrabi.
“Soon after the body of Talib was laid to rest in Martyrs grave yard in Kakapora, hundreds of people cornered 53 RR camp and 183 Battalion CRPF and hurled stones over the government forces.
To disperse the protesters, the Army and CRPF resorted to aerial firing and tear gas shelling that left many protesters wounded,” an eyewitness told CNS.
All but 35 protesters were injured. One injured in critical condition was shifted to SKIMS Soura while two others were taken to Bones and Joint Hospital Srinagar. Other injured protesters were shifted either to Pampore or Pulwama hospitals. The doctors at Pampore hospital confirmed to CNS that six people admitted in the hospital were having pellet injuries.
Eyewitnesses said that even women were seen pelting stones on police, Army and CRPF personnel. “The situation is tense but under control,” said a police official.
Meanwhile, the killing of LeT militant sparked protest in Pulwama district where large number of youth hurled stones on police and CRPF personnel. Police used tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters. A complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama district to mourn the death of the militant. All the shops and business establishments in Pulwama, Pampore and Kakapora and other adjoining areas remained shut and transport did not ply on the roads. Eyewitnesses said that police charged the protesters with canes and burst tear smoke shells when they hurled stones on police station.
Pertinently, a local militant Talib Afzal Shah was killed while two militants were managed to escaped from the encounter site at Astan mohalla Kakapora. At least four houses were damaged during the gunfight that belonged to Abdul Majid Sofi, Lassa Wagay, Abdul Gani Sofi and Ghulam Muhammad Sofi.(CNS)