Srinagar: Ten people were killed and nearly 200, including 96 security personnel, injured in violent clashes between mobs protesting the death of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
Following the violent protests that led to deaths, Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to remain calm and maintain peace.
Similarly, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while expressing deep grief and agony over the death of youths during protests at various places in Kashmir Valley appealed for calm, even as authorities indicated curfew would be more strictly enforced on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Amarnath Yatra was also suspended in view of the worsening situation, with police saying it will be resumed "as soon as it is possible to ensure security of yatris".
As Burhan, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, was laid to rest in his native place Tral, violent mobs attacked installations of police and paramilitary forces at various places in the Valley and set ablaze several buildings including three police installations, as a result of which three cops were missing.
Defying prohibitory orders, a surging crowd of over 20,000 people on Saturday attended the burial of Wani in Tral town in Pulwama.
Shouting pro-Islam and pro-Azadi slogans, mourners appeared surcharged and youths raised slogans vowing to follow Wani's path.
Eight protesters killed on Saturday were identified as Aijaz Ahmed Thokru, a resident of Siligam in Anantnag, Yawar Manzoor Kondru of Anantnag, Khursheed Ahmed of Kulgam and Zubair Ahmed also of Kulgam, who was injured on Friday but succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, Adil Bashir of Dooru, Anantnag, Abdul Hamid Mochi of Arwami village in Anantnag, Shaukat Ahmed of Bijbehara and Mohammad Asif of Kukurnag.
All except Kondru who drowned in the Jhelum as security forces sought to disperse a violent mob were killed when security forces retaliated to attacks by violent mobs on police stations, mobile posts, security force pickets, police patrols and security force vehicles, the officials said.
Two more injured succumbed to injuries in hospital but were yet to be identified.
At least 96 security personnel were injured, said Additional Director general of Police, CID, S.M. Sahai and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, S.J.M. Geelani at a press conference here.
Three policemen were missing, they said.
The administration also announced that all exams from school to university level had been postponed as well as the National Eligibility Test and interviews of the State Public Commission.
Separatists, including hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik earlier called for a day's strike to protest Wani's killing. Later, they announced to continue their shutdown on Sunday and Monday too to protest the "killing spree by the Indian security forces".
"We have had a very difficult day today," said ADGP (CID) of J&K Police S M Sahai while describing the situation "bad in certain segments", "not critical" in areas like north Kashmir and under control in Srinagar.
"It is very unfortunate that young lives were lost in clashes," Sahai said while addressing a press conference on the situation.
He appealed to the parents to restrain their children from participating in such protests so that young lives are not lost.
Replying to a volley of questions, including why Burhan was not caught alive instead of being gunned down, Sahai said, "We certainly don't want to kill youngsters of our own society."
He said the Hizb commander and two others got killed when security forces retaliated after being fired upon by the trio from a house in which they were hiding. Two security personnel were injured in that firing, he added.