Civilian killed in stone-pelting, Omar blames separatists
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Last Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010, 22:26
Srinagar: One person was killed on Friday when a group of stone pelting youths attacked a mini bus in Batmaloo locality of central Srinagar, police said.

40-year-old Shafiq Ahmad Sheikh, who was travelling from Natipora to Batmaloo, was hit by a stone on the head resulting in serious injuries. He was taken to S K Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, where he succumbed to his wounds, a police spokesman said.

The state police registered a case of murder in the incident in evening. The government has decided to institute a probe into the incident and bring the "killers" to book, official sources said.

The group indulged in stone pelting to enforce closure of shops in the locality to protest precautionary measures taken by the authorities to prevent a march planned by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who was put under house arrest.

On February 22, an 11-day-old boy had died after he fell from his mothers arms during an attack on a mini-bus by a group of stone pelting protestors in Baramulla district.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today accused them of putting the lives of innocent people at risk by encouraging such protests.

"Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has a given a call for Friday protests and is encouraging the stone pelting... his followers... are responsible for the death of the innocent person as they were responsible for the death of the 10-day-old boy in Baramulla some months ago," Omar said.

He said the silence of the separatists showed that they are "using opportunities like this, seemingly, to embarrass the government, but actually putting the lives of innocent people at risk".

The separatists would have taken to streets if the killing had been at the hands of security personnel, Omar said, but as the stonepelters had acted "on the direction of a separatist leader, the same separatist leaders will today be sitting quietly at homes and will not come out and condemn it".

He said if the separatists and the principal opposition PDP do not condemn the incident with the "same ferocity and intensity, they will be accused, and rightly so, of hypocrisy".

Opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said the killing was highly condemnable but added that the incident cannot be taken in isolation and cited the alleged killings of civilians by security forces.

"We come out against all types of killings whether by security forces or by stone pelters," Mufti said.

The PDP leader said her party was not supporting this kind of violence. "We are not supporting people to go and kill other people. Infact, it was chief minister Omar Abdullah who said on the floor of the House that he is going to rehabilitate the stonepelters," he said.

"You can't book children under 15 years of age under Public safety Act," she said.

Meanwhile, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, under house arrest since Thursday, was detained when he tried to defy restrictions to lead a march to the United Nations Military Observers group office.

"Geelani was detained and lodged in police station Humhama on the airport road when he tried to come out of his house at Hyderpora to lead a march to UNMOGIP," a police spokesman said.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Group, was also placed under house arrest in his Nigeen residence.

This is the second death in stone-pelting frenzy in a little over two months in the Kashmir Valley.

The police had investigated the death of an infant due to mob violence in the north Kashmir district of Baramulla in February and booked four people on charges of murder.


First Published: Friday, April 30, 2010, 22:26

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