Police Tear Gas Yet Another Funeral Procession
SRINAGAR: Police and paramilitary forces today teargassed the funeral procession of a teenager from Srinagar who died under mysterious circumstances at a hospital here last night, heightening tensions in the restive Valley.
Family sources said Kaiser Ahmad Sofi, 16, a resident of Shalimar locality near Dal Lake in Srinagar, was admitted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences on October 27 where he succumbed last night.
According to sources, the victim had gone missing from his home and he was later found in an unconscious state. His family has alleged that the teenager was poisoned and later tortured in custody.
The J&K police has, however, denied the allegations, saying that the teenager consumed poison which resulted in his death. The nature of the boy's illness couldn't be verified immediately.
The body of the teenager was brought to his ancestral home in downtown Srinagar on Saturday morning where a large crowd, comprising of aged, women and children had gathered to participate in the funeral prayers.
Amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the funeral procession marched towards the Martyrs' Graveyard but it was stopped midway. Witnesses said the police and paramilitary forces burst teargas and also fired in the air to disperse the procession which was marching peacefully.
"We were taking the body for burial when the police and CRPF men fired teargas shells and also used batons to disperse the mourners," a youth, who was participating in the funeral, said, wishing to remain anonymous.
Shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, the mourners somehow managed to reach the graveyard in Eidgah locality where the boy was buried amid emotional scenes.
Kashmir remains on the edge following the killing of Hizb commander, Burhan Wani, in an encounter on July 8. At least 94 civilians have been killed in retaliatory action by forces to curb freedom protests.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: police and paramilitary in Soura. Srinagar)