Protests, clashes in Budgam, Pulwama

Protests, clashes in Budgam, Pulwama
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Forces place restrictions, detain youth to prevent large gatherings in Chadoora; internet services snapped in four districts

Ishfaq Reshi/ Mohammad Suhail

Budgam: Several persons were injured while dozens others were detained in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district in day-long clashes that erupted after the burial of Yasin Itoo.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Yasin Itoo, alias Mehmood Gaznavi was among three militants killed in an encounter with government forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday.
Clashes also erupted in Kakapora area of Pulwama district soon after the burial of a civilian killed on Sunday in pellet firing by government forces. Several people were injured during the clashes, though none of them seriously.
Owais Ahmad Dar, 24, son of Mohammad Shafi Dar of Kakapora, was injured in pellet firing by forces on Sunday and later succumbed to his injuries at the SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
All educational institutes, business establishments and government offices remained closed as normal life came to halt in Soibug, Budgam, Chadoora and Chrar-e-Sharief areas of Budgam district. No pro-freedom group had called for a shutdown on Monday, which also happens to be the Independence Day of Pakistan.
Government forces also placed restrictions on traffic movement to foil any possibility of protests in the area. Internet services were snapped in Budgam, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama districts.
Officials said the precautionary steps were taken to prevent protests in the aftermath of Sunday’s incident. “Security has been tightened, however, there were no complete restrictions on the movement,” a police officer said.
Clashes erupted soon after the burial of the militant at his native place as people assembled there began to pelt stones on the government forces who retaliated with tear gas shelling, leaving several persons injured.
Earlier, police also detained some youth in order to avoid any kind of protests in the area. Police said that they had detained dozens of youth involved in the stone pelting cases. However, police declined to give the exact number of youth detained.
In Pulwama, hundreds of people Monday morning assembled in Kakapora and participated in the funeral procession of the slain militant Owais Dar. Following the funeral, dozens of youth hit the streets and threw rocks at the government forces deployed in the area.
Tear-smoke shells and pellets were fired by government forces to disperse the protesting youth, who kept regrouping nonetheless, continuing the clashes through the better part of the day.
A doctor at the Kakapora Public Health Centre told Kashmir Reader that they had received several people with minor injuries who were discharged after being administered first aid.
Owais’ family alleged that his killing was “a cold-blooded murder by government forces”. Owais’s cousin, Rayees Ahmad, said that he had left home for a haircut after evening prayers on Sunday. He said that Owais was a first-year student at Government Degree College, Pulwama, and was a hard-working boy who managed a grocery shop besides studies.
“He had no time for pelting stones on government forces,” Rayees said, demanding a probe into Owais’ death.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in other parts of Pulwama and Kulgam districts.
Kulgam remained calm amid a complete shutdown a day after thousands attended multiple funeral prayers held for slain Hizb militant Umar Majeed Mir of Kathpora Yaripora.
Umar was among the three militants killed in the 18-hour gun battle in Awneera.
“There were no clashes throughout the day today here in Kulgam. The shutdown however was a complete one,” a local source told Kashmir Reader.
Schools across south Kashmir remained closed for the day, as per an order by the director of school education. Though Anantnag remained normal, schools in the district stayed closed as well.




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