Two killed in Kashmir violence, Mehbooba faces mob fury (Fourth Lead)

November 23rd, 2008 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 22 (IANS) Two young men were killed and 10 were injured in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday when police and paramilitary troopers fired at people protesting against the holding of elections in the state, officials and eyewitnesses said. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti later faced the mob’s fury.Mufti, according to a senior police officer, was returning to summer capital Srinagar via Baramulla after addressing poll meetings in Kupwara district in the evening in a heavily escorted motorcade.

Police said mobs in Baramulla town in north Kashmir, where the two youths were killed, threw stones at the motorcade. Mufit’s guards managed to clear the road but the mobs surrounded an escort vehicle on the Baramulla-Kupwara road and torched it, police said.

The deaths earlier in the day sparked off wide demonstrations, prompting the government to order a probe.

The seven-phased assembly elections in the border state are on, with the second phase taking place Sunday and the last phase on Dec 24. Baramulla will see voting Dec 7.

The violence erupted when a mob of anti-election protesters resorted to heavy stone pelting on the escort vehicle of Congress candidate Mir Mushtaq in Khanpora locality of the town, 55 km from here, the police said.

Manzoor Ahmed Kumar, a Class 10 student, died on the spot after being hit in the chest, eyewitnesses told IANS on the phone.

The boy had received a bullet injury in his chest, according to doctors.

As the news about the death of Kumar spread in Baramulla town, mobs gathered in the main town square carrying the body.

Tension gripped the town as the protesters carried the body of the slain youth and marched towards the curfew-bound old town shouting anti-election slogans.

The paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) then opened fired at the funeral procession injuring at least 11.

“One of the injured, Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh, an auto-rickshaw driver, died in the security force firing and 10 sustained bullet injuries in the old town area of Baramulla,” a police official said.

“We have referred 10 injured persons, who reported here with critical injuries, to Srinagar hospital for specialised treatment,” a doctor said on the phone from Baramulla.

After anti-election protests in Baramulla town Friday, the authorities clamped curfew to quell demonstrations.

An official spokesman said the government has ordered a magisterial probe into the firing incidents in Baramulla town.

“The probe will be conducted by the additional district magistrate of Baramulla district,” the spokesman said.

Angry protesters engaged security forces in heavy stone pelting in the town as high tension gripped the area after the killings.

Clashes between the stone throwing mobs and the security forces in the town forced the authorities to call additional troops to bring the situation under control.

Separatist Hurriyat Conference condemned the firing by paramilitary at the protesters in Baramulla town.

Earlier, as trouble began in the town, protesters also smashed a vehicle of independent candidate Atiqa Bano.

The local administration was planning to place the town under curfew Sunday to prevent trouble as the separatists have called for a march to Ganderbal, which goes to polls Sunday.

Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Sopore, suspected guerrillas tossed a hand grenade at the house of a candidate in the evening. No one was reported injured in the explosion.

In the Kangan constituency of Ganderbal district, guerrillas hurled a grenade at the house of Abdul Rashid Ganai, a candidate of the National Panthers Party.

His guards retaliated and fired warning shots. No one was reported injured.

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