Clashes in Pulwama, complete shutdown in Shopian
Pulwama: Despite restrictions, extensive military deployment around Karimabad area of South Kashmirs Pulwama district, thousands of people including the womenfolk from adjoining hamlets participated in the funeral procession of local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, Afaq Ahmed Bhat, the 22 year-old-son of a police officer, who along with his associate, Manan Ahmed Dar, was killed during a gunfight with the Indian Army on Monday evening in Drubgam hamlet of the district which witnessed violent protests after the culmination of the encounter.
According to the eyewitnesses, the extensive military and police deployment around Karimabad and adjoining areas failed to prevent thousands of mourners from marching towards Karimabad.
Reports said that at least 45,000 mourners who had gathered from different parts of the district at Karimabad participated in the funeral procession of the slain militant. Carrying black and green flags the mourners chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans throughout the funeral ceremony.
One of the cousins of slain militant told the local news agency, CNS, that police authorities handed over the body to the family after seeking assurances that last rites of the martyred militant will be performed peacefully. Despite my pleas to the mourners, they could not control themselves and clashed with the government forces, he said.
In order to keep people at bay, authorities imposed an undeclared curfew in Pulwama and some other adjoining areas. Barricades were created at certain points, however, people forced the government forces to retreat after they hurled stones at them.
Soon after the culmination of the funeral, thousands of people marched towards the Pulwam district, and amid anti-India and pro-Islamic slogans, they marched towards the office of the District Development Commissioner, however, police and CRPF swung into action and resorted to massive teargas shelling.
Reports said that the government forces resorted to aerial firing when the protesters continued to attack them with stones. The clashes between protesters and the government forces continued for hours resulting in the injuries to scores of people.
Eyewitnesses said that even the womenfolk pelted stones on the police, Army and the CRPF personnel. The situation is tense but under control, said a police official.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral procession of another Hizb militant, Manan Ahmed Dar.
Witnesses said that as Manans body reached his native village more than 20,000 people amid pro-freedom slogans assembled and participated in his funeral prayers.
Soon after the body of Manan was laid to rest in Martyrs grave yard at Amirabad Shopian, hundreds of people attacked government forces with stones.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama and Shopian districts to mourn the death of the slain militants. All the shops and business establishments remained shut and vehicular traffic was off the roads.
Pertinently, two local militanst Afaq Ahmed Bhat son of Abdul Rashid Bhat resident of Karimabad and Manan Ahmed Dar son of Bashir Ahmed Dar were killed in an encounter at Drabgam area of Pulwama district on Monday evening. Afaq, an associate of Hizb Commander Burhan Wani was the son of a Jammu Kashmir Police Officer who had recently graduated from Degree College Pulwama.(CNS)
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