Thousands Bid Farewell to Slain Pulwama Youth

PULWAMA: Normal life was paralysed in entire South Kashmir district Wednesday following a strike call in protest against the death of a youth in BSF firing a day earlier.

BSF firing on a group of youth resisting army action against militants had resulted in death of one Bilal Ahmad Bhat at Padgampora hamlet on Tuesday. 

All the shops and business establishments and educational institutions remained shut while transport was off the roads. Eyewitnesses said that roads in the district wore a deserted look while complete shutdown was observed in adjoining areas of the district including Pampore, Kakapora, Ratanpora, Lajoora, Lelhar, Telangam, Samboora, Tral, Awantipore, Padgampora, Tahab, Rajpora, Wasoora, Cahkoora and Newa.

The call for shutdown was given by Syed Ali Geelani led Hurriyat (G).

On Wednesday areas witnessed violent protests after a joint party of army and police killed  two local militants.

On Wednesday thousands of mourners participated in the funeral procession of 23 year old Bilal Ahmed Bhat who was laid to rest at the martyrs grave yard in the village.   

Reports said that violent clashes broke out in Padgampora, the native village of Bhat. Protesters targeted CRPF personnel deployed on roads with stones. Eyewitnesses said that para-military forces resorted to heavy tear-smoke shelling that left at least 14 protesters injured. 

residents alleged that CRPF personnel smashed windowpanes of the residential houses and thrashed even elderly people, a charge denied by CRPF.   

Reports said that youth at different places in Pulwama including Muran Chowk, Rajpora Chowk and Pirchu clashed with police. Police used few tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. Reports said that soon after clashes, police imposed restrictions on the movement of people and didn’t allow people to move freely in the town.

A police official said that barring few minor incidents of clashes, the situation in the district remained peaceful.

Meanwhile, separatist leaders including Muhammad Yasin Malik, Javid Ahmed Mir, Mushtaq Ahmed Sofi and Ghulam Nabi Zaki were detained along with several leaders as they tried to visit Padgampora to express solidarity with the bereaved family. 

Family refutes BSF version

Pulwama: Family of Bilal Ahmad Bhat Wednesday refuted the BSF claims that someone among protesters fired upon them to which they retaliated leading to the death of 23 year old youth.

“Bilal was walking along the railway track when some BSF personnel guarding the track shot him dead”, family alleged. 

“There was no protest going around the railway track but the pro-freedom slogans raised by protesters in the village were audible. Finding Bilal alone on the track, the BSF men pumped two bullets into his body, one in belly another in leg,” said the mourning family members.

Terming the killing of Bilal as a cold blooded murder, family alleged that after every innocent is killed forces come up with fictitious versions to save their skin. We know that inquiry is a mere eye-wash and if inquiry ever reaches to any conclusion, it is not made public and no guilty trooper has ever been punished,” they said.

MLA Calls It ‘Cold Blooded Murder’

Pulwama: People’s Democratic Party leader and MLA Pulwama Muhammad Khalil Bandh Wednesday castigated government forces for using ‘force’ on protesters.

Bandh swaid that the killing of innocent civilian at Padgampora is not only a cold blooded murder but unjustified as well. “Stringent punishment should be given to the troopers involved in the murder of Bilal Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Padgampora,” he said.

He said that it is unfortunate that even after killing an innocent youth government forces resorted to massive tear-smoke shelling on protesters. “The action of troopers can’t be justified. Government is not helpless but will initiate action against the troopers if the inquiry committee indicts them,” he said.

He said that no government approves innocent civilian killings. “The government forces should not harass and thrash civilians during an operation. Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed has ordered a time bound inquiry and I hope the troopers responsible for the killing will be punished,” he said and condemned the use of force on protesters. (CNS)

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