Teen’s death sparks riots in Kashmir


Saudi Gazette,

SRINAGAR, India – Clashes erupted between residents and government forces in Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city Saturday, a day after a teenage boy was killed, allegedly by a rubber bullet fired by police.

Shops, businesses and schools were closed and public buses stayed off the roads in Srinagar to protest the boy’s death.

The 17-year-old student, Tufail Ahmed Mattoo, died late Friday after being hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired by police during a protest against Indian rule, resident Shakeel Ahmed said. He said Mattoo was not part of the protest and was carrying his school bag when he was shot. Police called the death “mysterious” and said they were investigating it. “We’re waiting for the medical report. But apparently it seems he was hit by a heavy object,” said Hemant Lohia, a top police officer.

Thousands of people defied restrictions imposed by authorities in several neighborhoods in Srinagar and gathered Saturday at Mattoo’s home to pay their respects. The mourners carried his body for burial while shouting “We want freedom” and “Blood for blood.” Police and paramilitary soldiers fired tear gas to quell the protests in several places in Srinagar, a police officer said on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy. He said angry protesters pulled down at least two paramilitary bunkers in the city.

“Security forces have ordered us not to venture out. They say a curfew has been imposed, “resident Tanveer Ahmed told AFP. Police denied imposing a curfew in some areas. “We are
enforcing restrictions on civilian movement to maintain law and order,” police officer Pervez Ahmed said. In other parts of Srinagar, where security restrictions were not imposed, a spontaneous strike closed down shops, offices and businesses.

The region is in the grip of a 20-year insurgency against Indian rule. The unrest has left more than 47,000 people dead by official count. Tensions in the region have been running high after local police accused the military of killing three civilians in April. The army initially said they had killed three armed rebels but later ordered an enquiry and initiated action against two officers.

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