SRINAGAR: Amid a complete shutdown and e-curfew, a 22-year-old youth, who was shot dead by the Army last evening in retaliation to a stone-pelting incident, was laid to rest at his ancestral village in north Kashmir today afternoon.

According to reports, thousands of people, shouting ‘freedom’ slogans, participated in the last rites of Khalid Gaffar Malik who was shot dead by army last evening in Trehgam village of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

Khalid, whose brother also works in the Indian Army, was killed after soldiers fired indiscriminately following an incident of stone-pelting at the Army convoy some distance away from the scene of shooting last evening.

Family members of Khalid, a shopkeeper by profession, and eyewitnesses told The Citizen that he was not involved in the stone pelting and was sitting at the shopfront when the Army convoy, which was pelted with stones, opened fired at him.

“He had suffered a lethal bullet injury in the neck and was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed during treatment,” sources said, adding that the family, after getting custody of the body, decided to perform the last rites in the morning.

Following the burial, dozens of youth took to streets and hurled stones at the police and paramilitary personnel deployed in the area to impose restrictions, “They retaliated by firing teargas and pellets, resulting in injuries to at least three youth,” sources said.

Meanwhile, a spontaneous shutdown is being observed in Kupwara district where all the shops and trade establishments in the business centres of the district and Trehgam, where the killing took place, remained closed while public transport was also off the roads. All educational institutions also remain closed in the district.

Authorities have suspended mobile internet services since last night in parts of Kupwara and the adjoining Sopore area to prevent any flare-up following the fresh civilian killing which have spiked tensions in Kashmir Valley. Earlier this week, three civilians, including a 16-year-old girl, were killed by the Army in south Kashmir’s Shopian.

According to official data, over hundred civilians have been shot dead by security forces near encounter sites since January 2017. The data, released by J&K Police, excludes the civilian killings that have been blamed on ‘unknown gunmen’.

(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)