SRINAGAR: Several youth are feared injured after violent clashes broke out today afternoon in south Kashmir's Kulgam district where a Hizb militant, who was killed by forces in an encounter yesterday along with three civilians, was laid to rest.
Five rounds of funeral prayers were held to accomodate thousands of mourners who had poured into Kanjkul village of Kulgam from adjoining areas to attend the last rites of Tauseef Ahmad, the Hizb militant who died in an encounter in Chadoora yesterday.
After the funeral was over, witnesses said protesters pelted stones at Yaripora police station, sparking violent clashes in the area amid anti-India and pro-freedom sloganeering. The area remains tense with additional forces being rushed in to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control.
"Youth pelted stones at the police station while the forces responded by lobbing teargas shells and firing pellets to disperse them. Clashes are going on in the area," witnesses said, adding that some protesters were wounded by pellets and they have been taken out for treatment.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown is being observed in the Valley, following the Hurriyat's call, against the killing of three civilians, including a teen, in Chadoora village yesterday. Authorities have also suspended the train service fearing escalation in protests.
In the city centre Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas, all the shops, banks, schools and other business establishments remained closed while there was thin traffic on roads. Police and paramilitary troopers were deployed at many places to prevent any protests.
According to reports, some schools, anticipating fresh protests, have also announced a holiday today while the University of Kashmir and other higher educational institutions have also postponed exams scheduled today in view of the Hurriyat's shutdown call.
Meanwhile, in a third incident of its kind this week, suspected militants barged into the home of a senior police officer in Kulgam district, ransacked the property and warned his father to tell his son to "mend his ways", according to sources in know-how of the development.
Sources said the suspects barged into the SP-ranked police officer's home in Khudwani area of Kulgam. The officer was not present in the house when the incident occurred and the suspects left after warning his father about his son's activities in the police force.
This is the fourth incident of its kind in the Valley. Earlier on Monday night, suspected militants ransacked the house of a low-rung police officer in Shopian and fired in the air outside the house before fleeing.
Three days earlier, militants abducted and later let off the nephew and son of a police officer in Budgam district and also torched his car before escaping from the area. So far, the police has remained clueless about these incidents.
(Cover photograph BASIT ZARGAR)