Death Of Missing Boy Adds Fuel To J&K Fire

8 July 2009
Daily News & Analysis

Srinagar: Even before Shopian and Baramulla wounds could be healed, another mysterious death of a 20-year-old college student in Srinagar triggered a fresh cycle of street violence, pushing the Omar Abdullah government into yet another spell of uncertainty.Asrar Mushtaq, a BCom second-year student of Islamia College, had mysteriously disappeared on Friday. His mutilated body was recovered on Tuesday evening from a graveyard at Rainawari in the old city. His hands were tied behind his back and eyes and mouth shut with an adhesive. Massive violence rocked Srinagar after the news reached Asrar's locality, Maisuma, where the JKLF headquarters is also located. An angry mob went on the rampage, smashing everything that came in its way. It set ablaze a police vehicle in Lal Chowk. Several other vehicles were also smashed. The violence soon spread to other parts of Srinagar. Protesters claimed Asrar was killed in custody and his body dumped in the graveyard to make it appear a murder. Police denied the claim, saying it was a clear case of murder after abduction. They are questioning a man with whom Asrar was in contact before his mobile phone was switched off. 'Call records show his phone was on till 9.30 pm on Friday when he went missing. There are 16 SMSes from a particular number. We are questioning the man,' SSP, Srinagar, Syed Afad ul Mujtaba said. He said police had found tyre marks near the graveyard, suggesting Asrar was killed a few days ago and his body was brought in a vehicle to the graveyard. 'The body had multiple injury marks, his hands were tied. It seems to be a case of murder after abduction. As for the allegation of police involvement, Asrar had no criminal record, so there was no reason for us to arrest him.' The rising violence has left the six-month-old Omar Abdullah government shaken. 'It's a conspiracy. A hidden hand is doing such acts to destabilise the government. The deceased boy's grandfather was a member of our party. He was gunned down in 2002,' Ali Mohammad Dar, provincial president of the ruling National Conference, said. The opposition PDP has, however, got a stick to beat the government. 'They (government) have failed to live up toexpectations,' party general secretary Dilawar Mir said.