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Kashmir situation volatile following death of October 9 bomb attack victim

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 NewsGram Staff Writer

Srinagar:  Violence erupted in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday following the news of death of a victim of the October 9 fire-bomb attack on a truck in Udhampur. Situation further worsened with the calling of a strike on Monday by separatists and others outfits.

Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was being treated for serious burn injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, succumbed to injuries Sunday, a police officer told reporters in Srinagar. Some reports said Bhat was aged 16, while other reported that he was in his early 20s.

As news of the death in Delhi spread on Sunday, mobs took to the streets in the southern district of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by burning tyres.

Notably, the highway is the most strategic road link between the Kashmir Valley and the rest of India.

They also pelted stones at security personnel who tried to disperse them with tear gas, triggering street battles.

Meanwhile, separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik and local traders, transporters and manufacturers unions called for a complete shutdown on Monday protesting against the incident.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the state government was solely responsible for Bhat’s death as it failed to provide security to the truckers.

Zahid Bhat and another Kashmiri from Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Dar, 35, sustained major injuries when a mob hurled a petrol bomb on their stationary truck at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Udhampur District Magistrate Shahid Chowdhary on Sunday said that murder charges had been added to the FIR against the five attackers arrested earlier. They were first accused of rioting and triggering communal passion.

The accused are Sandoor Singh, Danish alias Pamma, Harish Singh, Balbahadur Singh and Varinder Singh alias Kaka.

The accused were also booked under the Public Safety Act, normally used against terrorists in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

The attack took place following a beef party hosted by independent legislator Engineer Rashid in Srinagar.

Both the victims of the attack were flown to Safdarjung Hospital which specializes in treating burn injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had visited them at the hospital three days back.

Meanwhile, the body of Bhat was flown from Delhi to Kashmir on Sunday evening in a state-owned aircraft.

A senior police officer said the body was received at the Srinagar airport by ruling Peoples Democratic Party president and Lok Sabha member Mehbooba Mufti, state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, and state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari, besides state police chief K Rajendra Kumar and other senior officials.

“Ghulam Rasool Bhat, the elder brother of Zahid, also came from Delhi in the same plane,” the officer said.

A large contingent of police and paramilitary forces formed part of the convoy in which the body was taken to Batango village in Anantnag district, where the burial would take place, the officer said.

A large number of people gathered on the highway from Bijbehara town onwards to Batango village, 52 km from Srinagar city.

Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah expressed shock over the death of the youth and blamed the BJP and its ruling alliance partners for “stoking communal passions” which led to the Udhampur attack.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed too condoled the death of the youth and assured that those responsible for the dastardly act would be brought to justice.

In the wake of the bandh call, the first convocation of Islamic University of Science and Technology (Awantipora) scheduled for Monday was postponed.

All exams of Kashmir University and state board of school education scheduled for Monday were also postponed.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Republic Day functions pass off peacefully in J&K

Reports of peaceful Republic Day celebrations have also come from different district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions

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Smartly turned out contingents of army, paramilitary forces, state police and school children participated in the parade. Pixabay
Smartly turned out contingents of army, paramilitary forces, state police and school children participated in the parade. Pixabay
  • Peaceful Republic Day celebrations amid heightened security in J&K
  • Hoisting function and ceremonial parade were held at Maulana Azad Stadium
  • Mobile phone services were suspended as a precautionary measure

Amid heightened security, the Republic Day celebrations on Friday passed off peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir’s winter and summer capitals.

The main flag hoisting function and ceremonial parade were held at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu city where state governor N.N. Vohra unfurled the national flag and took the salute at an impressive parade.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, her cabinet colleagues, Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, high court judges and senior army police and civil officials were also present at the function.

ALSO READ: India faces more threats to its republic today than it did 66 years ago

People from across the social spectrum and school children also participated in country’s 69th Republic Day celebrations.

Cultural programmes by school children was a highlight of this year's Republic Day celebrations both in Jammu city and different district headquarters of the state. Pixabay
Cultural programmes by school children was a highlight of this year’s Republic Day celebrations both in Jammu city and different district headquarters of the state. Pixabay

In Srinagar city, the main function was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium where Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri hoisted the Tricolour and took the salute at the parade.

Extraordinary security arrangements had been made this year for the Republic Day celebrations amid intelligence inputs that a non-local female suicide militant had entered Srinagar.

ALSO READ: Election Commission to participate in Republic Day parade

Mobile phone services were suspended in the Valley as a precautionary measure, with the authorities saying they would be restored in the afternoon.

Reports of peaceful Republic Day celebrations have also come from different district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions.

Separatists had called for a shutdown across the Valley to attract international attention to the Kashmir dispute. (IANS)