Clashes in several other areas of Shopian, army soldiers beat up residents, labourers in Chakoora village
Dachoo (SHOPIAN): After 42 hours of battling for life at SMHS Hospital, 19-year-old Sufail Ahmad Bhat succumbed in the wee hours of Tuesday to the bullet that had pierced his kidney, liver and spinal cord. The bullet had been fired at him by government forces at Nagbal village, near the site of the encounter in nearby Badigam village of Shopian where five militants, including top Hizbul commander Saddam Paddar, were killed on Sunday morning.
Apprehensions of clashes made the authorities deploy several teams of government forces at Sufail’s native village of Dachoo in Shopian district. However, clashes did break out when scores of youth hurled stones at the army garrison that was established in Dachoo last year, among six such new garrisons established in Shopian villages in 2017. Police and paramilitary forces fired pellets, tear smoke shells and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, injuring four protesters, two of whom had to be shifted to Srinagar hospitals because of the severity of their injuries.
The clashes lasted the entire day at Dachoo as locals were not allowed to bury the body, which arrived at 2pm, till 6 in the evening. Eyewitnesses said that later, a dozen villagers were allowed to bury the body after several consultations with police officials.
Seven rounds of funeral prayers were attended by thousands of men, women and children for the slain boy. People constantly raised pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. Emotional scenes were witnessed when the body was being carried to the graveyard. Women were seen wailing, kissing the forehead of Sufail. Eyewitnesses said that about ten-thousand mourners attended the funeral prayers.
Shopian police chief Shailendra Kumar Mishra told Kashmir Reader, “There were intense clashes but despite that the situation remains under control.”
When asked about the civilians injured in clashes at Dachoo village, he said he had received no reports of any injuries yet.
The medical officer in charge of Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Zainapora, Dr Sami-ul-llah, told Kashmir Reader that four persons were brought there on Tuesday. One among them had pellet injury in the eye and one had been hit by a tear smoke shell on his chest. Both of them were referred to Srinagar hospitals, he said.
Block Medical Officer (BMO) Zainapora Dr Muhammad Yousuf told Kashmir Reader that besides the persons who were brought injured on Sunday, nine more pellet injured were brought to the SDH who had been injured on Sunday, because they could not reach the hospital on that day.
According to close family sources, Sufail was running a kirana shop in Dachoo since he left studies after passing Class 10 from Siraj-ul-Aloom Imam Sahib. They said that he was 19 years old.
Sufail has left behind a handicapped brother, an elder brother who is a truck driver, a sister, and his parents. Villagers said that Sufail was the only one in the family who used to earn decent money.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Shopian district for the 12th consecutive day excepting last Saturday, when normal life resumed for a while. The shutdown count this year has reached 48 days, while the internet has remained suspended for 43 days in the district.
All business establishments, shops and schools remained closed in every nook and corner of the district. Only those vehicles plied that were going to the homes of slain militants and civilians.
Clashes erupted in Meminder and Nagbal villages and in Bongam, Gagren and Bonbazar areas of the main town. At Meminder, youths clashed with government forces after pelting them with stones. The government forces fired tear smoke shells and stun grenades at them. At Gagren, youths hurled stones at a police Special Operations Group (SPG) camp; the men in uniform retaliated with tear smoke shells and stun grenades.
At Bongam, youths clashed with forces after hurling stones at them. The forces retaliated with tear smoke, pellets and stun grenades, in which five persons sustained injuries. Later, youths clashed with forces in the main market near Jamia Masjid in the town.
Residents of Chakoora village alleged that soldiers from the army garrison stationed at Mantribug beat up a dozen persons in their village. Villagers told Kashmir Reader that the soldiers came to the village and beat up at least 12 persons, including four labourers who had come to the village to work.
They said that among the injured persons, one Zaffar Ahmad Mir got eight stitches for a head injury sustained due to the assault by army soldiers. Among the other villagers beaten up were Bilal Ahmad Sheikh, Riyaz Ahmad Dar, Towseef Ahmad Thoker, Aqib Ahmad Thoker, and Abdul Hameed Thoker.
The Medical Superintendent of SDH Shopian said that four persons were brought to the hospital till 7:30pm, all of whom were discharged after treatment.
Eyewitnesses in Shopian main town said that several persons sustained injuries in clashes in the evening but their number could not confirmed by health department.