Civilian dies as separatists protest in Srinagar

Friday, April 30, 2010

SRINAGAR - A 40-year-old man died Friday after supporters of hardline senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani stoned a vehicle in which he was travelling even as the protesters, shouting anti-India slogans, tried to take out a march in this Jammu and Kashmir capital, police said.

Shafiq Ahmad Sheikh, a peon in the secondary school board, was killed after the public transport vehicle he was travelling in was attacked by stone pelters in the Batmaloo locality here.

“Shafiq was hit on the head by a stone. He was immediately rushed to a hospital where, despite the best efforts by doctors to save his life, he succumbed to injuries,” a police officer told IANS.

The police lobbed tear smoke shells and baton-charged the protesters to foil their separatist march called by Geelani in the Amira Kadal locality after the Friday prayers. Dozens of Gilani supporters came out of the Humza mosque led by some leaders of the group.

“Section 144 is enforced in the city and police intervened in the Amira Kadal area today (Friday) after violation of the restrictions,” a senior police officer told IANS.

Protesters pelted stones at contingents of police in the area from where Geelani proposed to take out a protest march to the headquarters of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOG).

Authorities placed Geelani under house arrest in his uptown Hyderpora locality, but he came out of his house and tried to breach the security cordon Friday.

“He has been taken into custody and shifted to Humhaama police station,” another police officer said.

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

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed grief at the death of the civilian and challenged the separatist leaders to also condemn the death. He said the civilian died because protests had been called by the separatist leaders and their supporters pelted stones which caused the man’s death.

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