Mourners clash with police at funeral in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: At least a dozen protesters suffered injuries in Kashmir on Wednesday as security forces fired teargas and pellets at angry mourners who defied a curfew to hold a funeral for a slain rebel, witnesses and police said.
Authorities had imposed a curfew in parts of the disputed territory after three rebels were killed in a firefight with government forces overnight.
But hundreds of mourners defied the order to organise funerals for the slain rebels, sparking violent clashes with police at one of the ceremonies held in the main city of Srinagar, witnesses said.
The mourners shouted slogans such and pelted stones at police who fired teargas and pellets.
“At least a dozen protesters were injured with pellets in their heads and limbs,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Authorities had erected checkpoints and blockades along main roads in Srinagar to prevent residents from holding protests or attending funerals for the rebels who were killed in a shootout south of the city.
The overnight firefight came amid high tension after gunmen shot dead seven pilgrims and injured 19 others in the disputed Himalayan region on Tuesday.
Soldiers and counterinsurgency police cordoned off a neighbourhood in Redbugh village late on Tuesday after learning about the presence of armed rebels in a house, a police officer said.
“After the night-long standoff, all three militants were killed when they tried to break the cordon,” the officer said. There is no suggestion the shootout was linked with the attack on a bus shuttling Hindus on an annual pilgrimage to a Himalayan cave revered as the abode of the god Shiva.
Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, said police and security forces were still carrying out investigations.
“No one should jump to any conclusion on the attack. Let us wait for the definite inferences and inputs,” he told reporters in Srinagar.
Separately on Wednesday, army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said two soldiers were killed in cross-border firing by troops in Kupwara district, near the de-facto border that divides the Himalayan region between the two countries, without providing further details.