Clashes between protesting youth and government forces erupted in few places Tral on Fridayamid a shutdown in many of South Kashmir areas against the killing of Let commander Abu Qasim. Reports said that normal activities remained paralyzed in Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts of South Kashmir on Friday as people observed a complete shutdown to “mourn” the death of LeT commander. Shops and other business establishments remained closed while government offices witnessed thin attendance with roads wearing a deserted look in these areas, reports added. Interestingly, the shutdown was spontaneous as no separatist organization has called for a shutdown today. Meanwhile, police has arrested many youth in Kulgam and other places who as per DIG South Kashmir Nitish Kumar has “taken law in their hand by attacking a CRPF camp in Kulgam, and raised provocative slogans” during the funeral procession. Abu Qasim’s funeral prayers were participated by thousands of people at Bugam village in Kulgam district on Thursday. Qasim, according to police, was killed in a brief shootout at Khanday pora village in the district. Reports from Tral said that youth pelted stones on police and paramilitary forces who retaliated with tear smoke shells. The pitched battles continued for many hours, however reports about injury to anyone have not been received. Locals of Kulgam town, meanwhile, told KNS that men in uniform went berserk during last night and broke windowpanes of dozens of houses. They also claimed that many youth by police in nocturnal raids following the huge funeral of LeT commander. Talking to KNS, DIG Nitish Kumar said that situation in all districts of South Kashmir remained by and large peaceful. He meanwhile said that youth were arrested in many south Kashmir areas for creating law and order situation yesterday by “attacking a CRPF camp and raising slogans which were provocative and anti-national.” He however did not provide the figure of the arrested youth. Kumar added that the participation of large number of people in funeral of the slain LeT commander is reflection of the confusion among people in Kashmir. “People should worry in which direction they are going,” he said in reply to a query whether the participation of thousands of youth in Abu Qasim’s funeral was worrisome for police.
2015 Kashmir Despatch