Authorities on Sunday clamped curfew and imposed restrictions in Kashmir Valley to maintain law and order and prevent violence, as top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat was buried in his ancestral village in Tral of South Kashmir with hundreds attending the midnight funeral. Though authorities said curfew would be imposed only in seven police station areas of Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, M.R. Gunj, Safa Kadal, Kralkhud and Maisuma in Srinagar on Sunday, the city was virtually sealed in the morning to prevent vehicular movement.
Heavy deployment of security forces was made in the old city areas of Srinagar to prevent violence. One person was killed and 40 others were injured in violent clashes between the stone-pelters and security forces on Saturday. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was arrested on Sunday and shifted to central jail Srinagar. On Saturday, Malik had visited Bhat’s residence in Rutsana in Tral and expressed his condolences over the death to his mother.
Bhat was buried past midnight in his ancestral graveyard in Rutsana village, as hundreds converged – arriving from different areas, amid massive security. On Saturday, one protester was killed when protesters tried to breach the cordon of security forces in Saimoh village where the Hizbul commander Sabzar Ahmed Bhat and his accomplice were trapped. In clashes at other place, 40 people including 28 protesters and 12 security men were injured.
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Of the injured protesters, eight are being treated for bullet injuries while seven have suffered pellet injuries and are admitted to different hospitals in Srinagar. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc were imposed in Ganderbal, Badgam, Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir while in south Kashmir, the districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian saw unprecedented security arrangements in place to ensure minimum attendance at Bhat’s funeral prayers.
People in hundreds had arrived on Saturday from different places of south Kashmir to attend the burial of Bhat and Faizan, his associate, who were killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Saimoh village. The authorities suspended internet services on mobile phones on Saturday in addition to suspending outgoing call facility on prepaid mobile phones.
On Sunday morning, call facility, incoming and outgoing, were suspended on all mobile phones whether post paid and prepaid. Only postpaid BSNL mobile phones are working at the moment. Train services between Baramulla and Bannihal towns have been suspended.
State civil service (judicial) exam scheduled on Sunday has been cancelled. All educational institutions have been ordered to remain closed on Monday in the Kashmir Valley.The separatists have called for a protest shutdown on Sunday and Monday and called for a ‘March to Tral’ town on May 30 to offer funeral prayers and show solidarity with the slain Hizbul commander