Protests, clashes erupt in Kupwara following killing of 7 militants

Kupwara: Massive protests erupted in Lalpora area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Tuesday, a day after Army claimed to have killed seven ‘foreign militants’ in a nearby forest. The protesters were demanding the bodies of the slain militants and asking police to reveal their identity.

At least sixteen persons were injured in day long clashes. The injured include five civilians, four policemen, and seven media persons. The protesters allegedly damaged the equipment of some photojournalists who were covering the event. Vehicles of some media persons were also damaged during the clashes.

Although authorities imposed strict restrictions in the area, the protesters managed to reach near police station Lalpora. They attacked the station to get the dead bodies, however, security forces opened aerial firing and resorted to teargas shelling. The incident created panic in the area. The protesters came from various adjoining villages.

Reports said that the angry protesters completely damaged the police station forcing some policemen to run for cover. The protesters also pelted stones on the station building and completely damaged two bunkers outside it.

In order to apparently control the situation, police agreed to hand over the bodies to local Auqaf Committee for last rites. Thousands later participated in the funeral procession of the slain militants who were buried in a local graveyard.

Initially, there was massive outrage in the locality for Army not revealing the identity of the slain militants. However, Army and the State police later said that all the slain militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit and that they recovered Pakistani documents from their possession. Officials sources said that the militants were active the Dardpora forests for a long time. They called it a ‘big achievement’ for the security forces.