Amid spontaneous shutdown and clashes, thousands of people, including women, today turned up for the funeral of slain Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) Kashmir chief, Abu Qasim in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Eyewitnesses told Srinagar-based news agency that soon after the news about the death of Abu Qasim spread, thousands of people from Kulgam and other districts of south Kashmir including Pulwama and Shopian rushed towards Bogam so that they could have a glimpse of the slain commander and can participate in it.
Within no time, the Bugam village – where Qasim’s funeral was supposed to take place – was jam-packed with people including kids and woman. The body of Qasim was taken in a procession initially to Bogam Chowk amid pro-freedom, pro-Islam and anti-India slogans.
The eyewitnesses said that the funeral of Qasim was offered twice: first at Bogam Chowk and then in the ground of Bogam Higher Secondary School. Reports said soon after the funeral, the people of three districts laid claim over the body of slain Commander and wanted him to bury at their home-districts.
However after deliberations, reports said, Abu Qasim was buried at martyrs’ graveyard Bogam. Thousands of emotionally charged funeral participants raised massive anti-India and pro-militant slogans, the witnesses said.
Prior and after the funeral, hundreds of youth at multiple places Kulgam clashed with government forces. The forces resorted to aerial firing at Khandaypora near encounter site and elsewhere lobbed scores of teargas shells. There was a complete shutdown in the district.
A youth identified as Faizan Khan of Qaimoh Kulgam was critically injured after he was hit by a teargas shell in his head during clashes. He was rushed to hospital in Kulgam where doctors referred him to SKIMS Soura in Srinagar.
The shutdown was also observed in Pulwama district against the killing of two militants this week and also against the death of Qasim. During the shutdown, the youths clashed with government forces at various places.
Meanwhile, police said it have arrested 67 youths for enforcing shutdown in Shopian district against the killing of Abu Qasim and seized five vehicles they were boarding.
A senior police official said that today after the news about the Qasim’s death spread, the 67 youths from Pulwama district who were boarding sumo vehicles, “started to disrupt normal life in Shopian district”.
“They tried to enforce their unlawful writ by way of pelting stones and raising ‘anti-national slogans’ and they also tried to close the market forcefully.” The police acted swiftly and during the course of action, around 67 boys were arrested and case and investigation has been taken up,” the official said.
He said the five vehicles bearing registration numbers JK03D -9516, JK03B -6660, JK03C – 2159, JKI3A – 6353 and JK13C -5270 were also seized.