Tourist killed as Kashmir tension boils over

TURMOIL: The funeral procession of Kashmiri professor and
suspected militant Mohammad Rafi Bhat
TURMOIL: The funeral procession of Kashmiri professor and suspected militant Mohammad Rafi Bhat

HUNDREDS of protesters clashed on Tuesday (8) with Indian forces on a third day of deadly troubles in Kashmir, as the region dealt with the killing of a tourist drawn into the unrest. A Kashmiri man injured in earlier clashes died in hospital on Tuesday, setting off the new battles. Six Kashmiri civilians have now died in protests since a weekend siege in which security forces killed five militants. As news of the latest death spread in Shopian district, south of the state’s main city Srinagar, residents poured onto the streets, throwing stones at security forces who fired shotgun pellets and tear gas, wit­nesses said. Shops and schools shut across the Kash­mir valley following a protest call by sepa­ratists opposed to Indian rule. Hundreds of police in riot gear patrolled the old quar­ters of Srinagar amid a new curfew. Late on Monday (7), a tourist from Tamil Nadu state was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by stones as it drove into a protest outside Srinagar. Stone throwing is a regular tactic in bat­tles between protesters and security forces. R Thirumani, 22, was going to join his family in the tourist resort of Gulmarg when he was critically injured. He later died in hospital. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a top separatist leader and chief Muslim cleric, condemned the attack on tourists as hooliganism. “It is totally against our ethos of treating tourists as respected guests and brings a bad name to the people’s movement,” Fa­rooq said in a tweet. Last Sunday (6), Indian soldiers shot dead five Kashmir militants, including a rebel university teacher, in a gunfight that triggered violent protests in which five ci­vilians were killed. Government forces swooped on the vil­lage of Badigam, in Shopian district, fol­lowing a tip-off about armed militants holed up inside…

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