Kashmir Police, Protesters Clash After Boy's Death1 February 2010
Srinagar: Rock-throwing protesters clashed with government forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Monday, a day after a police-fired tear gas shell struck and killed a boy. At least 17 protesters and eight troops were injured in Monday's clashes, said a police officer on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy. Police and paramilitary soldiers again used tear gas to quell Monday's protests, which took place in several places in Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's main city, said Hemant Lohia, a top police officer. On Sunday evening, 14-year-old Wamiq Farooq was struck in the head by a tear gas shell fired by police just after a protest against Indian rule ended, said the boy's neighbor Shakeel Bhat. Thousands of people gathered at Farooq's home Monday and carried his body for burial, shouting slogans like 'We want freedom' and 'Indian forces leave Kashmir.' Kashmir, which is predominantly Muslim, is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the Himalayan region, where more than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian crackdown. Lohia said the officer who fired the tear gas Sunday had been suspended. 'Preliminary investigation suggests that it was a callous and irresponsible action on the part of the officer,' he said. 'Further action will be taken once the investigation is completed.'