Civilian killed in grenade blast

3 others including CRPF trooper injured; Clashes erupt after attack; 23 youth held during night raids in Ratnipora, Kakpora; clashes in Srinagar

By ZIA-UL-HAQ/ Bilal Habib
SRINAGAR: A civilian was killed and four others, a CRPF trooper among them, in a grenade explosion in Pulwama on Friday.
Witnesses said unidentified militants threw a grenade towards CRPF troopers in Murran Chowk, injuring four civilians and the CRPF trooper.
A CRPF vehicle, witnesses said, also suffered damage in the explosion.
The injured were shifted to district hospital Pulwama, where Muhammad Ayoub Wani son of Muhammad Yusuf Wani of Busoo Pulwama succumbed.
Three other injured civilians identified as Abdul Ahad, Abdul Rashid and Shaheena Akhtar were treated at the hospital. The injured CRPF trooper, Dalbir Kiran, was shifted to Srinagar after first aid.
“A total of five injured people including a woman and a CRPF man were brought to the hospital. One of the injured had grave splinter injuries in his chest and died minutes after being brought here. Others had suffered minor injuries and were discharged after the treatment. Injured CRPF man too was stable,” said a doctor posted at district hospital Pulwama.
The deceased, aged 35, was buried amid sighs and sobs in his ancestral village in the late afternoon. Tens of hundreds of people, witnesses said, participated in his funeral prayers.
Witnesses said that soon after the grenade exploded, scores of youth gathered at a little distance from the spot and threw stones at the damaged CRPF vehicle, triggering minor clashes.
Later, witnesses said, when more forces were deployed in the town, the youths regrouped and clashed with the forces again. The clashes spread to other localities soon, triggering a shutdown in the town. Forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling to drive away the stone throwing youths.
Police also manhandled Greater Kashmir photojournalist and Gulistan TV Cameraman Kamran Yousuf.
Yousuf said that when he was taking pictures of the clashes a couple of policemen thrashed him and threatened to damage his camera.
“Pulwama senior superintendent of police Rayees Mohammad termed the incident unfortunate and promised action,” Yousuf said.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Ratnipora area of the district against the arrest of at least 19 youths during nocturnal raids by the police.
Official sources said that four more youth were arrested during night raids from Kakpora area last night for their involvement in stone throwing.
Rayees said the arrested youths “have been creating trouble in the area”.
“These miscreants were involved in disturbing law and order in the area. We have all the evidence of their involvement in creating trouble. They all were identified from the videos and then arrested,” he told Kashmir Reader.
The SSP, however, denied reports that the arrested youth were involved in throwing stones at PDP leader and MLA Pampore Zahoor Ahmed Mir’s cavalcade a few days ago.
“I have already made it clear that there was no stone throwing on MLAs cavalcade. They are habitual trouble makers,” he said.
Clashes in Srinagar
Clashes erupted in a few areas of Srinagar after congregational Friday prayers.
Scores of youth held a demonstration in the vicinity of Jama Masjid in Nowhatta and raised the flags of Pakistan and Islamic State.
The flags were raised by masked youth following which clashes ensued between protesting youth and the government forces.
The police and government forces had to resort to teargas shelling and aerial firing to disperse the protesters.
The protests spread to neighboring Rajouri Kadal locality where heavy shelling was also reported to disperse the protesters.
In Maisuma area of city center Lal Chowk, several members of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) were detained after they attempted to hold a protest sit-in in the locality.
The joint resistance leadership consisting of both factions of Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF had called for peaceful protests across the valley against the killing of youth.