Stone-pelters Kill Civilian, Omar Slams Separatists30 April 2010
Times of India
Srinagar: A 40-year-old Kashmiri man travelling on a public bus was killed after being hit by a stone hurled by ‘‘professional’’ azadi protesters in central Srinagar on Friday triggering widespread condemnation by politicians and even moderate separatists of such orchestrated protests. A group of youth enforcing bandh attacked a mini bus with stones at Magarmal Bagh locality of Srinagar killing Shafiq Ahmed Sheikh, travelling from Natipora to Batmaloo. Sheikh was taken to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where he succumbed to head injuries, Srinagar SSP Javid Riyaz Bedar said. The protesters also threw stones on passing vehicles and police posted near Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta and other downtown localities of Srinagar. Police said soon after Sheikh’s death, people at his native place Natipora took to the streets, threw stones on police and asked businessmen to pull down their shutters. The stone-pelting mob was enforcing a bandh called by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani against what he calls human rights violations. Geelani, Hurriyat Conference moderate faction leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other separatist leaders were already under house arrest. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said, ‘‘Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who gave the call for Friday protests, is encouraging stone pelting. His followers are responsible for the death of the innocent person...” He said the silence of separatists showed they are ‘‘using opportunities like this, seemingly, to embarrass the government, but actually putting the lives of innocent people at risk’’.