One Killed, Eight Hurt As Police Fire On Protestors In Kashmir
15 December 2007
New Delhi: One person was killed and at least eight wounded on Saturday when Indian police fired at unruly protestors demanding the setting up of a college in their town in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, news reports said. Scores of people took to the streets in the town of Magam, located in the district of Badgam about 25 kilometres west of state capital Srinagar. The demonstrators blocked roads and threw stones at buses in support of their demand that the state government set up a college for undergraduates, IANS news agency reported. 'The protesters pelted stones at passing traffic and torched a government bus,' a senior police officer was quoted as saying. 'Initially the police used tear gas shells and batons to disperse the mob, but as the agitators refused to disperse and resorted to heavy stone pelting injuring a number of policemen, the police fired a few shots in the air,' he said. However, eyewitnesses claimed the police had fired directly at the protesters, killing one person and injuring eight others. The Jammu and Kashmir government had approved the setting up of 18 new colleges at a state cabinet meeting on Friday, but Magam was not among the designated sites. Civilian anger is often directed at the police in Jammu and Kashmir, a state that has seen more than 50,000 deaths since a militant secessionist movement reared its head in the 1980s. The dead include militants, security forces personnel, politicians, government officials and civilians.