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Srinagar tense after youth dies in police firing

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
June 24, 2008 13:38 IST
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Widespread violence and protests rocked Srinagar on Tuesday, as members of various outfits protested the allotment of forest land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board by the state government.

One person, who was critically injured during the protests on Monday, succumbed to his injuries in the Soura Medical Institute late in the night.

Feroze Ahmad was injured when the Central Reserve Police Force personnel opened fire on protestors demanding revocation of the allotment order.

Three other victims, who received gunshot wounds, are currently undergoing treatment and one of them is reportedly in a critical condition.

The body of Feroze Ahmad was handed over to his relatives by the police.

Hundreds of mourners, who attended Ahmad's funeral prayers, shouted slogans against the government and the SASB at Nowhatta area of old city.

Feroze's death further fuelled the angry protests in Srinagar. Stone pelting mobs stopped traffic and forced closure of businesses and educational institutions throughout the old city area.

The mob also shouted slogans against the allotment of land to SASB on the streets of Nowhatta, Gojiwara, Hawal, Lal Bazzar, Soura, Chotta Bazzar, Karan Nagar, Safa Kadal, and Maisuma.

Police and paramilitary forces responded by repeated baton charge and firing tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.
Senior separatist leaders, including Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah, were placed under house arrest to prevent their participation in the protests.

The north Kashmir Srinagar Baltel Amarnath Cave Shrine route was closed for traffic in view of protests by hundreds of locals at Beehama in Ganderbal district. Scores of vehicles carrying pilgrims were stranded on the highway.
Local lawyers and prominent citizens carried out a peaceful protest march through Lal Chowk, demanding the revocation of the forest land allotment order.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar