Baramulla: Clashed rocked Sopore town of this north Kashmir district Thursday after the indefinite curfew clamped by authorities after the killing of a youth by government forces was lifted.
Curfew was imposed in Sopore town on Tuesday morning, a day after forces shot dead 22-year-old Arshid Ahmad Shah, a cab driver, while breaking up a pro-freedom protest in Krankshivan locality of Sopore, hours after the 18-hour gun-battle ended with the killing of LeT commander Mehmood Bhai. Four youth had also suffered injuries in what the locals had termed unprovoked firing by the forces. The killing had triggered strong protests in the town with pro-freedom groups calling for a complete shutdown across the Valley.
Reports said scores of young boys took to streets at Baba Yusuf, Batpora, Khushal Mattoo, Arampora, Chankhan, Hathi Shah, Ashpeer, Main Chowk and other areas of the town when the curfew was lifted on Thursday morning after two consecutive days. Besides chanting slogans in favour of freedom from India, the youth also pelted stones at the contingents of police and CRPF troopers.
Police and paramilitary troopers burst scores of teargas canisters to disperse the stone pelting youth. However, the youth regrouped from the narrow lanes and by lanes and continued renewed assaults on the forces. The pitched battles continued intermittently. However, no one was injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, all shops, offices, educational institutes, banks, financial institutions and petrol pumps remained closed in the town, while the public transport remained off the roads.
“Curfew was lifted but the traders didn’t open their shops. If all goes well, we might open our commercial establishments on Friday,” president Traders Federation Sopore, Haji Mohammad Ashraf Ganai, told Kashmir Reader.
Sub-District Magistrate (SDM) Sopore, Khursheed Ahmad Shah said that curfew was relaxed for two hours from 10 am to 12 noon and later extended.
“We knew the residents were facing problems due to the curfew. And that’s the reason administration decided to lift the curfew to provide relief to them,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people from different parts of the town visited the Naseem Bagh residence of Arshid Ahmad Shah, who was shot dead by forces on Monday. The visitors expressed solidarity with his father Abdul Aziz Shah and offered prayers for the departed soul.