Amid complete shutdown in valley against Zahid Rasool Bhat’s death, clashes erupted in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, while protests took place in Chenab Valley. Clashes broke out between security forces and mourners in Botengoo, native village of Zahid, after burial of slain youth which was attended by thousands of mourners. Police fired tears gas shells and pepper canisters to disperse youth who pelted stones towards police and shouted slogans against the government. Botengoo and adjoining villages in Bijbehera area witnessed heavy protests by mourners who participated in Zahid’s funeral to his native graveyard. The government had put strict restrictions in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and several parts of downtown in Srinagar to thwart protests against the death of Zahid Rasool Bhat, who lost his battle after suffering severe burn injuries after being set afire by hooligans in Udhampur in Jammu province on October 9. Zahid succumbed to his critical burn injuries in Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, and was laid to rest at his hometown, Botengoo in Bijbehara Monday morning at 10.30. Zahid and Showkat Ahmad were attacked and set afire by a Hindu mob in Udhampur. While Zahid lost his battle with life, Showkat is stated to be recuperating in the New Delhi hospital. Separatists, traders, transporters have called for shutdown across the valley to protest the death. Business units, schools, banks, and government offices have been closed down, while sporadic private vehicles are plying on the roads in some parts of Srinagar. Authorities had deployed heavy contingent of police in Downtown areas of Srinagar, and in Anantnag district to thwart protests. Protests also broke out in Banihal, Doda and Kishtwar districts where youth staged demonstrations against the government and burnt tyres. The youth had blocked the highway and major roads in the towns to support the shutdown call. Government has slapped murder charges and PSA against the accused who were arrested in Udhampur following the attack on the two truckers. Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir Syed Mujtabha Geelani while talking to KNS said that the overall situation remained peaceful in Valley barring the clashes in Batengoo village in Anantnag. He said the call on the release of separatists, who were put under house arrest, will be taken by the evening.
2015 Kashmir Despatch