Thousands attend funerals of 2 militants killed in Balhama

Thousands attend funerals of 2 militants killed in Balhama
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Clashes erupted in Nowdal, Aghanjipora, Tral and Pampore

Mohammad Suhail/ Bilal Habib

Pulwama: Bodies of two local militants were on Friday buried after funeral prayers attended by thousands of people — despite restrictions imposed by the authorities — here in Awantipora and Tral areas of Pulwama district.
Clashes also erupted in several parts of the district amid a spontaneous shutdown. The major clashes occurred at Pampore, Pulwama town, Tral, and Awantipora.
The militants, identified as Shabir Ahmad Dar of Aghanjipora in Awantipora and Rasiq Nabi Bhat alias Owais of Nowdal Tral, were killed in an encounter with government forces in Balhama area of Khonmoh on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
While police in their statement have not mentioned the association of the duo, sources told Kashmir Reader that the two belonged to Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind led by former Hizb commander Zakir Bhat ‘Musa’.
Government forces blew up with explosives the houses in Balhama area from where the militants were fighting. The families of the militants identified them early Friday morning and took them for burial.
Thousands of people turned up for the funerals held in Nowdal and Aghanjipora villages. In Nowdal, the Pakistan flag was waved by people amid pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans. The body of Rasiq alias Owais was also draped in the Pakistan flag.
In Aghanjipora, government forces had sealed all roads leading to the village, to foil the march of thousands of people to the village. When people were stopped on roads, they lined up dozens of boats to make a bridge and crossed the river to reach the village.
After the funerals, clashes erupted in both Nowdal and Aghanjipora. Clashes also erupted in main town Tral, Pampore, and several parts of Pulwama.
Nobody was seriously injured during these clashes in which government forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors.
In Sherpora village in Tral area, people alleged that government forces entered the village and smashed windowpanes of cars and of houses, apart from thrashing several locals.
“That was despite the fact that no clashes had erupted in our area. The clashes were going on in Nowdal but the forces went berserk here,” locals told Kashmir Reader.
They said that the forces smashed anything and everything that came their way.
“Women and children were beaten as well as the elderly, and that, too, without any provocation,” locals alleged.
Senior superintendent of police Awantipora Zahid Malik said that there was not even any law and order issue in Sherabad.
“In Nowdal there were clashes and may be during that windowpanes of some vehicles have been broken. But not anything I know of. I will inquire about it nevertheless,” Malik told Kashmir Reader.