One Dead As Protesters, Police Clash In Srinagar

6 March 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: One man died and over a dozen protesters and security men were injured, one of them critically, in clashes after Friday prayers in the old city areas of Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar. Shahid Ahmed Ahangar was declared brought dead by the doctors at the SMHS hospital. According to some eyewitnesses, he was hit by a bullet fired by the police, while others said he was run over by a speeding police vehicle. Another protester, Shabbir Ahmed Baba, was also seriously injured and operated on at the hospital. Doctors said his condition was critical. An agitated mob, protesting the government's 'interference' in religious rights of the people and the conditions of the detenues in the state's prisons, threw stones at the police in the Nowhatta area of the city after Friday prayers, forcing the police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to use batons and fire tear smoke shells. The protesters dispersed but kept on regrouping from the densely populated lanes and by-lanes of the area to engage in sporadic clashes with the police. The situation in the area was tense following eruption of fresh clashes in the old city area. Earlier Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, alleged that the government was interfering with the religious rights of the local people. Addressing a large congregation at the historic Jamia mosque in Nowhatta, he asked the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to use its influence on India to stop the 'interference.' 'The government should not push the people to resort to the same type of agitation Kashmir witnessed in August last year,' Mirwaiz Umer said.