Srinagar: At least nine people, including three policemen, were injured Thursday in renewed clashes in Pulwama town of south Kashmir, where authorities imposed a curfew to scuttle protests over the death of a militant Wednesday in an alleged gunfight in Budgam district.
On Wednesday, Army had claimed that it killed a Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Tauseef Ahmad Dar, son of Ghulam Hassan, of Pulwama, when their patrol came under fire in Dalwan village of Pakherpora in Budgam district. Tauseef’s killing had triggered violent clashes leading to injuries to at least five people, including a policeman.
Fearing protests over the killing of the militant, authorities imposed curfew in Pulwama town on Thursday. Early morning, police vans fitted with loudspeakers made announcements in the town and its neighbourhing villages asking people to stay indoors, local residents told Kashmir Reader. They said hundreds of CRPF troopers and policemen in full riot gear were deployed in the town to thwart protests.
However, undeterred by the curbs, groups of youth took to streets at Prichoo, the native village of the slain militant and held anti-India and pro-freedom demonstrations. The protesters tried to march towards the main town. However, on reaching Murran Chowk, CRPF and police intercepted them. “The protesters pelted stones on the forces. The forces retaliated by lobbing numerous teargas canisters,” said Mohammad Sultan, a local resident.
He said additional reinforcements reached the area to quell the protests, even as clashes spread to Prichoo, Dalipora, Bus Stand, Murran Chowk, Malikpora Chatpora, and other villages.
In the daylong clashes, at least nine people, including three policemen were injured. One of the injured youth, who was hit by a teargas shell in the arm, was removed to Srinagar’s Bone and Joint Hospital for treatment. The injured youth has been identified as Maisar Ahmad Bhat, son of Mohammad Yousuf.
Manzoor Ahmed, a local, accused the forces of damaging windowpanes of over two dozen residential houses in Malikpora and Chatpora, while clashing with the protesters.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in the peripheries of the Pulwama town to mourn the death of the militant. All shops, offices, and business establishments remained closed.
Hundreds of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain militant at the fruit mandi Pulwama on Wednesday night. Amidst pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, he was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Prichoo, reports said.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman in a handout here said that “barring stray incidents of stone pelting” from a few places, the situation remained normal in the Pulwama town.
The spokesman also said that Maisar, who was injured in the clashes, was a “notorious stone pelter. He was injured while attempting to thrown back a tear smoke shell lobbed by police at Prichoo. The shell exploded in his hand causing injuries in his fingers.”