Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday led funeral prayers here for al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Geelani had asked all Imams to organise prayers for Osama. However, there was not much response.

Addressing a gathering at Batmaloo, Mr. Geelani condemned the United States for burying the slain Osama in sea, and said Islam scholars worldwide denounced this act.

He alleged that a conspiracy was on against Pakistan and that the powers had an eye on nuclear bombs in that country. He prayed for the safety of Pakistan. People shouted pro-azadi and pro-Osama slogans.

Earlier, the police put Mr. Geelani under house arrest. Later, he was allowed to proceed to Batmaloo.

At another prayer, Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah paid tributes to Osama. He said: “One can have differences with enemy, but those end with his death.”

Special prayers were offered in mosques in Srinagar, Pulwama, Bijbehara and Baramulla.

PTI reports:

Protests erupted in the Batmaloo area soon after the funeral prayers. Masked youth clashed with police and CRPF personnel soon after Mr. Geelani addressed the gathering.

The crowd called Osama a “martyr,” who sacrificed his life for the cause of Islam.

The protests lasted over an hour as the police, armed with riot gear, chased the youth who threw stones at them. However, there were no reports of any injury.

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