Violent protests broke out in Srinagar after Friday prayers when the security forces disallowed a funeral prayer in absentia for slain Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘commander’ >Abu Qasim, killed in an encounter in South Kashmir on Thursday.
Protesters, mainly youth, took to the main entrance of Jamia Masjid in the old city and tried to offer funeral prayers. Some youth flagged banners of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, still active in South Kashmir.
The protesters were hurling rocks and throwing fired smoke shells back at the security personnel at the time of filing of this report.
Several parts of three districts in South Kashmir — Kulgam, Pulwama, and Anantnag — held protests and spontaneous shutdown over the killing of 28-year-old Qasim.
He was killed in Kulgam on Thursday morning. He was behind several spectacle attacks in the State, including the >attack on BSF convoy in Udhampur in August 2015 and killing of top counter-insurgency cop Altaf Ahmad.
Separatists have paid tributes to the slain commander too. Hundreds of people participated in his funeral on Thursday. Armed militants reportedly joined the funeral prayers and opened fire in the air. Around 16 protesters were injured during the Thursday protests.
In a statement issued in Srinagar, LeT chief Mahmood Shah described Qasim, whose real name was Abdul Rehman, a resident of Multan in Pakistan, as “a meticulous planner”.
“The happiness of killing Qasim will not last long for the security forces. We will fight till the freedom of Kashmir,” threatened Shah.
Security across the Valley has been beefed up, including capital Srinagar where random check points have been set up to stop any militant sneaking in the city centre.