Protests in Budgam over Shia cleric assault
28 August 2002
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Thousands of angry men and women took to the streets in Kashmir’s central town of Budgam and neighbouring Magam on Wednesday to protest what they said was a murderous assault on Shia cleric and politician Aga Syed Hassan by members of the state police’s counter-insurgency Special Operation Group. A spontaneous strike was also observed in the area. As the situation took a more serious turn with people from neighbouring areas heading towards Budgam, chief minister Farooq Abdullah drove there where he apologised to Aga Hassan and assured them that the incident would be probed thoroughly and the guilty punished. According to Aga Hassan, gun-wielding policemen arrived at his residence in Budgam on the night of August 27, overpowered his guards and entered his house. ''They wanted to kill me but before they could reach me they were confronted by my brothers and other male members of the family,'' Aga Hassan said. This opposition irked the policemen ''and they started beating up everybody who came their way,'' Aga Hassan said, adding ''not only that they ransacked the house and desecrated Quran and other religious scriptures.''