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Protests continue in J&K over killing of youth
Published on 9 Jul. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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Life in this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital ground to a halt Thursday with public transport off the roads, and banks, shops as well as educational institutions closed following tension the day before when the death of a youth triggered widespread violence. Stray incidents of violence continued with stone pelting protesters clashing with police in the old city area as authorities imposed strict restrictions in uptown Maisuma, where trouble had erupted and then spread after the body of Asrar Ahmad Dar was recovered in Rainawari locality. Dar, who belonged to Maisuma, had left his home on his motorcycle last week and had since remained untraced. Police used batons and fired tear smoke shells to quell the protesters, three of whom were arrested in Ram Bagh locality when they were caught attacking private transport vehicles on the road leading to the airport. According to Afadul Mujtaba, senior superintendent of police (Srinagar), investigators had made headway in the Dar murder investigation. “Vital clues have surfaced and we are confident of cracking the murder mystery soon,” the Srinagar district police chief told reporters. Mystery shrouds the identity of the attackers but locals alleged police and other security agencies picked him up and killed him in custody. Police handed over the body to his relatives after an autopsy Wednesday afternoon. As the body was being taken for burial, the youth accompanying the funeral procession turned violent and threw stones at passing vehicles. They smashed window panes of government buildings and tore down hoardings, besides pelting stones at some shops and restaurants on the way to the graveyard at Dalgate. Police had a difficult time in controlling the crowd during the funeral. Wednesday’s violence followed similar agitations over the rape and murder of two women in a south Kashmir village in Shopian region in May and the killing of four protesters in alleged police firing in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Sopore towns last month. Meanwhile, a Kashmiri woman has died after she was allegedly assaulted by a Territorial Army man in a north Kashmir border village, an official said Thursday. Ashiq Hussain of the 160 battalion Territorial Army has been arrested after the family of the woman alleged that he Wednesday night barged into their house at Dolipora village in Kupwara, about 100 km from here. The official said the family alleged that the soldier attempted to rape the woman, a college student. Shocked by the attempt, the woman died, according to her family. Hundreds of villagers took to the streets in the village demanding arrest of the soldier and his associates who they said accompanied the accused last night. “We have detained Ashiq Hussain and registered a murder case. We are waiting for a team of experts to conduct autopsy on the body to know whether she was raped and murdered,” said the officer. “The situation is tense. But we have assured the villagers that action would follow once the post-mortem reports are available,” he said. The death is the latest in recent months blamed on security forces. The latest incident comes after the alleged rape and murder of two women in south Kashmir town of Shopian May 30. The Shopian murder, confirmed by police and a government probe committee, sparked violent protests in the Kashmir Valley. Two people died and hundreds were injured in clashes following the rape and murder. On Wednesday, the body of a missing college student was found in Srinagar, triggering violent protests. His family alleged that Asrar Ahmed Dar was arrested by security and killed in custody.

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