Protests, clashes continue amid stringent curfew
A youth was shot dead in fresh firing by forces in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday, taking the overall death toll in the ongoing protests that erupted following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani to 41, even as curfew remained in place for the eighth straight day.
Showkat Ahmad Malik, 25, was killed when forces opened fire on protesters in Hatmulla village of Kupwara district. Two other persons sustained injuries and are being treated at district hospital Kupwara, witnesses said.
“Showkat had a firearm injury and was brought dead to the hospital,” a doctor at Kupwara hospital said.
As soon as the word about Showkat’s death spread, youth hit the streets and clashed with forces
“Youth pelted stones and hurled bricks and the forces retaliated by lobbing teargas shells and chilly grenades,” witnesses said.
Thousands later participated in the funeral prayers of Showkat amid pro-freedom and anti-India sloganeering.
Stringent curfew remained in force in all major South Kashmir areas—Anantnag, Bijbehara, Mattan, Kulgam, Kaimoh, Pulwama, Kakpora, Pampore, Awantipora and Shopian.
“Curfew in far-off villages like Pahalgam, Kokernag, Dooru, Verinag and Qazigund continued,” locals said.
Reports of protests poured in from Aishmuqam, Kokernag, Dooru, Qazigund and DH Pora.
Protest demonstrations were also held in Tral, the native place of Burhan Wani.
Curfew was clamped in Baramulla, Sopore, Palhalan areas of North Kashmir. Clashes erupted in Pattan, with police and paramilitary forces resorting to use of tear-gas and pellets on protesters.
Protesters also clashed with forces in Old Town Baramula. In Sopore, youth defied curfew and clashed with forces at several places.
Widespread protests were witnessed in Kupwara district which has witnessed two killings so far.
Protests were also reported from Ganderbal and Kangan areas. In Srinagar, a strict curfew was enforced on Saturday. The forces had erected concertina wire at various places in downtown and some Civil Lines areas and no one was allowed to venture out of their houses.
Mobile telephone and internet service services in the Valley remained suspended.