TEENAGER TUFAIL LAID TO REST

60 injured in clashes amid shutdown, restrictions

GOWHAR BHAT

Srinagar,June12: Amid protests and clashes, the Saidakadal teenager killed during protests in old city Friday was laid to rest on Saturday at martyrs’ graveyard at Iddgah here. Police had retained the body overnight and handed it over to the family this morning.
Defying prohibitory orders, hundreds of people Saturday took part in the funeral of the 17-year-old youth, who was killed during a clash between demonstrators and police, even as skirmishes between protesters and police left 60 persons, including 20 cops, 15 CRPF troopers and some media-persons injured across the city.
Police and paramilitary CRPF troopers, deployed in advance across old city areas, resorted to aerial firing and fired dozens of tear gas canisters on the funeral procession, which defied curfew-like restrictions, and carried the body of Tufail Ahmad Matoo from his Saidakadal residence towards the martyrs’ graveyard.
Authorities, fearing widespread protests, had imposed restrictions in the areas under the jurisdiction of five police stations including Khanyar, Rainawari, Maharajgunj, Safa Kadal and Nowhatta.
Police first tried to stop the funeral procession at Zinda-Shah Masjid, Rainawari and fired a number of teargas shells. Five persons, including a photojournalist, were injured in the police action. But the mourners proceeded ahead along with the body.
However, at Gojwara, police again tried to stop them and fired a number of live ammunition in air. Later on way to Iddgah, police again resorted to aerial firing and teargas shelling near Wazapora and Iddgah. Hundreds of people, including Tufail’s friends and relatives, young and old, assembled at Iddgah where they offered funeral prayers and later laid the body to rest.
On their return from Iddgah, police again intercepted the mourners and fired teargas shells on them outside the martyrs’ graveyard.

WIDESPREAD PROTESTS; SEVERAL INJURED
Massive protests erupted across city after the youth was laid to rest. Nearly forty persons, including 15 policemen, were injured during day-long clashes. Four of the injured were termed as critical by doctors.
At Nowhatta youth protested the death of Tufail and fought pitched battles with police and CRPF men.
Eyewitnesses said a youth from Khawaja Bazar locality was critically injured after he was hit by a bullet in his abdomen. He was shifted to SKIMS in a critical condition.
Spontaneous protests also erupted in other parts of the city including Safakadal, Hawal, Chattabal, Batmaloo, Parimpora, Qamarwari, Bemina, Rambagh and other uptown localities.

Police used force to quell the protests.
At Rainawari, angry protesters attacked several CRPF bunkers and razed one to the ground. Police and CRPF baton charged youth and fired teargas shells to disperse them.
Witnesses said CRPF personnel caught hold of a civilian when they were caning protesters near Qamarwari. “The troopers hit the civilian with gun butts inflicting serious head injuries to him,” eyewitnesses alleged.
Another civilian Muhammad Rafiq Bangroo was injured at Safakadal. He was shifted to SMHS hospital and later to SKIMS where doctors termed his condition as critical.
Witnesses said CRPF men, allegedly, set ablaze a motorcycle and a lorry near Saidakadal.
“When the fire tenders from Rainawari station arrived on spot, the CRPF men also attacked the fire tenders,” an eyewitness told Greater Kashmir over phone.
Residents of GulBagh, Parimpora said police beat up men and women and barged into the residential houses and ransacked the property.
Policemen roughed up a civilian Fayaz Ahmad of Noorbagh in the locality. He received serious head injuries and was shifted to SMHS where doctors operated upon him in emergency.
An official of the SMHS hospital said that four hospital ambulances were damaged when caught in the clashes in different parts of the old city.
He said a nurse, Shamshada, sustained head injuries when an ambulance she was travelling in came under attack near Dalgate, where protesters were pelting stones. She has been hospitalised.
Elsewhere in the city, a spontaneous shutdown was observed on Saturday against the killing. Most of the shops, business establishments, banks and educational institutions remained closed. Very thin movement of the vehicular traffic was witnessed on roads. Tufail Ahmad Mattoo, 17, son of Muhammad Ashraf, according to eyewitnesses died when police opened fire and fired teargas shells on youth near Gani Memorial Stadium at Rajouri Kadal.

POLICE VERSION
In order to ascertain the actual cause of death, police today said that it requested the District Magistrate Srinagar to constitute a team of doctors which conducted post-mortem of the slain youth.
“Once the post-mortem report is received and cause of death ascertained, the department shall order an internal probe through DIG Srinagar and delivery of justice will be visible to general public,” a police spokesman said.
He said police “cleared” the route to Iddgah and “facilitated” the procession after mourners insisted on burying the body at martyrs’ graveyard.
“Police and CRPF showed tremendous restraint as a result of which the entire process passed off, by and large, peacefully,” he added.
Police said several persons including 15 policemen were injured as “some stray incidents of stone pelting took place in some parts of Srinagar city.”

Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST




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