Civilian, cop injured in firing

SRINAGAR: A civilian was critically wounded after being hit by a bullet in the head in Pakharpora area of Budgam district. The injured civilian has been identified as Muhammad Ayub, chairman of Pakharpora Sumo Stand. Police said the bullet pierced the face of an assistant sub-inspector of police, Abdul Rashid, before hitting Ayub.
Scores of protestors were injured in post Friday clashes in police action in various parts of the Valley on Youm-e-Quds, which was observed to express support for the Palestinians fighting Israel and “Kashmiris fighting Indian rule”.
As soon as the Friday prayers were over, civilians hit the streets with banners, Pakistani flags, shouting slogans glorifying resistance.
At the historic Jamia Masjid, where thousands of Muslims offered the prayers, masked protestors assembled at the Nowhatta square. After raising slogans, the moved towards the police station Nowhatta where they were stopped. The protest march morphed into a stone-pelting battle with police who fired teargas canisters and pepper gas grenades to chased away the protesters. Several protesters received pellet wounds.
In north Kashmir, protesters clashed with police and paramilitary forces after the Friday congregational prayer at main town Kupwara and Sopore, while police restored to heavy teargas shelling.
Soon after the Friday congregational prayer scores of youth assembled at the central Jamia Masjid in Kupwara and main town Sopore and took out massive protests rally in solidarity with Palestinians and Kashmiris.
The protesters shouted slogans anti-Israel, anti-India and pro-freedom slogan.
At Baramulla, scores of youth marched towards main market soon after Friday prayers, starting from Bait-ul-Mukaram Masjid Baramulla, where senior resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani addressed people by phone.
Minor clashes were reported from main chowk Baramulla after youth started throwing stones on police. The protest tuned violent here after police restored tear gas and pellet gun shelling to chase away the stonepelters.
Meanwhile Jamia Masjid witnessed the highest gathering where over 50,000 devotees offered the prayers, followed by second at the holy shrine of Hazratbal on the banks of Dal Lake where over 25,000 people including women and children offered prayers. They  also had a glimpse of the holy relic of the last prophet of Islam (PBUH) enshrined there.
All the mosques, shrines and Khankahs across the valley were jam packed and forced the management of these religious places to temporarily arrange mats on the roads to cope with the heavy rush of devotees.
People were seen offering prayers in open under the scorching sun. The Kashmir valley is going through hot summer days over the past one week with the Maximum temperature in Srinagar settling at season’s high of 34.4 degrees Celsius – three degrees above normal during this part of the season, on Thursday.
At Kulgam, army resorted to heavy aerial firing after coming under stone attack from the youth in Rampora area of Khudwani in Kulgam district.
Witnesses said that scores of youth in Rampora area resorted to heavy stone pelting on the army men who had gone to the village on a routine patrol.
Eyewitness said as soon as the army men reached the village scores of youth who had already assembled on the road attacked with stones. The youth refused to relent and continued stone attacks on army men forcing them to leave the village.
The gunfire, which continued intermittently for around 15 to 20 minutes created panic in the area.
A complete shutdown was also observed in some parts of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday to mourn the death of two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants who were killed in a two hour gunfight with government forces on Thursday.
Manzoor Ahmad of Gandi Bagh Kakapora and Abu Ayaan of Pakistan of LeT died in a gunfight at village Newa in Pulwama district on Thursday sparking massive protests and clashes in  Pulwama district.
Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that all shops and business establishments remained closed in Kakapora, Lelhar, Newa and other villages of Pulwama district. Traffic remained off the roads largely in all the areas.
Meanwhile, scores of people assembled at Muran Chowk and Rajpora Chowk and protested against the killing of two LeT militants by forces in the gunfight on Thursday. Clashes also erupted in Kakapora.
Posters of LeT, thanking people for observing shutdown and giving heroes’ farewell to the militants, surfaced in the town.