No Let-up In Srinagar Protests

No Let-up In Srinagar Protests

13 June 2010
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Even as the government ordered two parallel investigations into the death of a Srinagar boy on Friday, protests continued here for third consecutive day. Scores of people were injured in clashes as the police imposed “undeclared curfew” in several areas on Sunday. While the police blamed stone-throwers for the death of Tufail Ahmad Mattoo, 18, during anti-government protests, residents and relatives accused the police and the CRPF of knocking him down. On Sunday, youth took on the police and engaged them in stone throwing at Bemina and Batmaloo. At least a dozen people were injured and the situation remained tense. Authorities imposed severe restrictions in most of the downtown areas under five police stations. Heavily armoured vehicles with gun totting policemen patrolled the streets and barricades were erected on several roads blocking civilian movement. Though the police denied having imposed curfew, residents claimed that the CRPF asked them to “stay indoors or face bullets”. Life came to a standstill in entire Srinagar as a shutdown was observed to protest Mattoo's killing. Meanwhile, a high-level team of doctors, constituted by the government, is studying autopsy reports and will ascertain whether a shell, bullet or a stone hit Mattoo. A police team headed by Deepak Kumar, Deputy Inspector-General, Kashmir range, has also begun an investigation. Inspector-General, Kashmir zone, Farooq Ahmad said “exemplary punishment would be given to the erring personnel if found involved.” While the police formally arrested Hurriyat hardline leader Syed Ali Geelani and sent him to the Srinagar Central Jail, his faction has called a strike for Monday in the Valley to protest Mattoo's killing. “The police sought judicial remand for Geelani after he was taken away from the Humhama station,” official sources said. He had been kept in jail for longer period in view of the deteriorating situation in the Valley. In another development, the condition of another youth, Mohammad Rafiq Bangroo of Safa Kadal, deteriorated at S.K. Institute of Medical Sciences here, where he was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit. Hospital sources said Bangroo had been hit by a teargas shell in the head.


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