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Kupwara observes total bandh, Srinagar calm

Police arrested JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and 10 supporters after they tried to take out a protest march.

Mufti Islah | CNN-IBN

Updated:February 28, 2014, 2:22 PM IST
Kupwara observes total bandh, Srinagar calm
Police arrested JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and 10 supporters after they tried to take out a protest march.

Srinagar: Kupwara continues to remain tense but under control on fourth straight day over Monday evening killing of seven militants in an encounter with security forces in Lolab area of Kupwara district. Police arrested JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and 10 supporters after they tried to take out a protest march against the closure of the Pathribal case by Army.

Authorities have imposed restrictions in Lalpora village - the site of the fierce encounter - and main Kupwara Township following clashes between police and protestors in the last three days. This morning there are no reports of any clashes but police has been deployed in strength to avoid clashes from spilling over. The security is expected to get tighter in the wake of the Friday prayers.

Public outrage was more intense on Tuesday when hundreds of villagers armed with stones and bricks ransaked government properties in Lalpora. Police and media took most of the ire when youth demanding handing over of the bodies of the militants for burial were told to wait by police as their post-mortem was underway. Angry youth levelled a police outpost and torched a structure besides raining stones on mediamen and police. Three media persons and five cops were wounded.

The villagers were furious with police for not being able to establish the identity of the slain militants. Some alleged the encounter was not genuine but army and police in a joint press conference claimed the seven belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba and the group was wandering in the border district for sometime. The army even displayed arms and ammunition it claimed to have recovered from the Dardpora jungles, the place where the gun battle had actually taken place.

To contain the rage, the Kupwara district administration even got members from the local Muslim Auqaf Committee to identify the bodies but sources say no one from any village turned up to claim the bodies. "We have taken photograph of the bodies. Blood samples have been collected. If anyone claims the slain men, we are open to investigations," J P Singh, deputy inspector general of police, Baramulla Range told reporters.

The situation in the Main Township and Lalpora was taken up by opposition People's Democratic Party and Independent legislator Engineer Sheikh Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly today. The members slammed Omar Abdullah government for putting curbs on people.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front are planning to hold demonstrations in Srinagar over closing of the Pathribal case by Army. Army had recently closed the case citing ``no summary of evidence was found against the army personnel who were accused of eliminating five civilians in March 2000."


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