Baramulla: Anti-India protests and clashes continued in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district for second consecutive day on Wednesday over the killing of seven militants by the Army in Lolab forests on Monday.
Scores of people assembled at Rigipora bridge, Bus Stand, Main Chowk and other areas of Kupwara town and staged anti-India and pro-azadi demonstrations. The protesters also pelted stones at police and paramilitary forces; the latter retaliated by lobbing tear smoke shells. No one was, however, injured in the clashes which continued for several hours, reports said.
Meanwhile, all shops, banks, petrol pumps and other commercial establishments remained closed in the town against the killing of the seven militants by the Army in the forests of Lalpora.
Dozens of angry protesters had stormed police station Lalpora on Tuesday and damaged some vehicles and bunkers before curfew was imposed in the area. On Wednesday, a group of people defied curfew in the area and staged anti-India protests, reports said.
Kupwara’s Deputy Commissioner, Itrat Hussain Rafiqi, said there were some clashes in main town Kupwara “but overall situation is under control in all the areas of the district.”
On Tuesday, the protesters damaged four CRPF vehicles, three police vans, and two bunkers inside the police station Lalpora. The police station also suffered damage in the attack.
The protesters had tried to force their entry into the police station to see the bodies of the seven slain men following rumours that they were civilians. Fearing situation might go out of hands, the district administration imposed curfew in the area. The authorities also handed over bodies of the slain militants to the local Auqaf committee to cool the tempers. Later, thousands of people had participated in the funeral prayers of the seven militants before their burial in the martyrs’ graveyard Lalpora.
Army says all the slain militants were Pakistanis affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit. “The killing of the militants is a big achievement for us and a huge blow to the LeT. Our men faced difficulties to track the militants due to the arduous terrain. However, we managed to neutralize seven of them,” the Army said.