Day 3: Curbs, clashes in Kupwara

Srinagar: Curbs, clashes and a shutdown continued in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district for the third consecutive day on Thursday over the killing of seven ‘foreign’ militants in Lolab forests on Monday.
Reports said a complete shutdown was observed in many parts of the frontier district including Main Town, Lalpora, Lolab, Rigpora and some adjoining areas. All shops and other commercial establishments remained closed while transport was off the roads.
Stone-pelting incidents were also reported from different parts of the district including Lalpora and Khurhama.
A local news agency CNS that scores of youth resorted to stone-pelting in Lalpora after which police held a meeting with the elders of the area urging them to stop the youth from pelting stones on government forces.
“We had a meeting with the police in which we demanded that CRPF personnel deployed in Lalpora should be removed. We feel the presence of the troopers on roads is the main cause of stone-pelting while the police assured us that they will be removed soon after peace prevails in the area,” a Lalpora resident was quoted as saying by CNS.
On Tuesday, 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 has said.
Meanwhile, additional reinforcement has been dispatched to the town to maintain law and order in wake of shutdown call given by Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani on Friday. “We don’t want to take any chances and restrictions on the movement will likely be there on Friday,” a police official told the CNS.