Protests, clashes mark shut down; thousands attend funeral of slain civilian
ANANTNAG: Amid a complete shutdown across Pulwama district, thousands of people on Wednesday participated in the funeral prayers of the youth killed by government forces on Tuesday. 26-year old Bilal Ahmad Bhat was killed when a patrolling party of the BSF opened fire on a group of youths who were protesting against the killing of two local militants, Showkat Ahmad Lone and Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, in an encounter with government forces in Ratnipora area of the district.
Bilal was taken to Awantipora hospital from where he was shifted to SMHS. However, he succumbed to his injuries on the way. He was laid to rest in the martyrs’ graveyard in his native village, Padgampora, amidst pro-freedom slogans.
Many resistance leaders also took part in his funeral and urged the people ‘not to forget the blood of those sacrificing their lives for the cause of freedom’. Meanwhile, responding to the call from Hurriyat(G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, a complete shutdown was observed in the district against the killings. All shops, business establishments, private offices, educational institutions and petrol pumps remained closed in the district headquarter of Pulwama and other major townships of the district including Pampore, Kakapora, Tral, Samboora and Newa. Traffic also remained off all the main and link roads.
Reports of some clashes were received from Pulwama, Litter and Newa. In Litter township the youth resorted to heavy stone throwing at CRPF men who responded with tear gas shelling. During the clashes one CRPF trooper sustained minor injuries. Clashes, witnesses said, also took place in Newa after groups of youth threw stones at a nearby CRPF camp, however nobody was injured.
Pertinently, the district has been on the boil for the last one week and has witnessed only a single day of ‘normal life’. On Thursday last, the district commander of LeT, Talib Ahmad Shah, was killed by government forces in Kakpora. Following the killing at least ten youths had suffered injuries after being hit by bullets and pellets.