Violence in Kashmir again, police firing kills one in Srinagar

September 6th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 6 (IANS) Violence returned to the Kashmir valley after a lull of over two weeks Saturday when a young demonstrator was killed and another critically wounded as police opened fire to quell protests here. Slogan shouting mobs, pelted stones at security forces in the old city’s Nowhatta area of this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

The police opened fire to disperse the mob throwing stones at them, resulting in serious bullet injuries to two protesters, a police officer told IANS.

“The two injured were taken to a hospital. However, Javed Ahmad Bhat who had received a critical bullet injury in his chest succumbed,” he said.

“The other is in the hospital.”

A strong mob carried the body to Nowhatta shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

The body has been kept in the Nowhatta Chowk, where Bhat was shot by the police.

Mobs also threw stones at police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Karan Nagar and Habba Kadal areas of the city.

The Muslim-dominated valley observed a complete shutdown Saturday in response to the call given by the two factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference.

Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing violent protests during the last two months over a controversial land allotment order favouring a Hindu temple trust. The order was later revoked following protests in the valley, which invited a backlash in the Jammu region where Hindu demonstrators blocked the only road link to the valley disrupting the supply of essential commodities, including medicines.

Jammu protests were silenced Aug 31 when the government allowed the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to temporarily use the controversial forest land for Hindus who make annual an pilgrimage to a cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas.

The land row and the subsequent highway blockade has reinfused separatist sentiments in the valley, where Muslims have been rallying in favour of freedom for the last two months.

Nearly 50 people have been killed, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, during the two months of unrest in the state.

Normal life had returned to the valley since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began Monday, when a nine-day long curfew was lifted from the valley and arrested separatist leaders were freed.

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