Incidents of stone-pelting on security forces by locals are not new in the Valley but the recent attacks on tourists and school kids have posed a fresh challenge to the state and Centre in dealing with the situation.
A tourist from Tamil Nadu died on Monday when his car in which he was travelling along with his family came under attack by stone-pelters on the outskirts of Srinagar. The man died after he was hit on his head by a stone. Police said that the deceased man was 22 years old and he has been identified as R Thirumani, a resident of Chennai. The Indian Express reported that the tragic incident took place when the family was on way to a resort in Gulmarg of Baramula district. It was then that the car in which they were traveling came under attack by protestors.
Police said that the youth was admitted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, but he succumbed to his injuries. Besides Thirumani’s car, several other vehicles were also targetted by the protestors. Showkat Ahmad, Magam SDPO said that the family was travelling in a Tavera and had left for Gulmarg early in the morning when troops were still being deployed on the roads. Ahmad said that a few stones hit their vehicle while one hit the youth’s head.
Thirumani’s body was later shifted to police hospital. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti visited the hospital to meet the parents of the deceased man after she was informed that the tourist had passed away. Speaking to reporters, Mufti said, “My head hangs in shame. It is very sad and heartbreaking.”
The incident has invited widespread condemnation for the government. National Conference working president and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed deep grief over the killing of a tourist in the state. In a tweet, he also targetted to incumbent PDP-BJP dispensation’s decision of amnesty for stone-pelters.
“We have killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let’s try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters and their methods,” he tweeted.
We’ve killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let’s try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters & their methods.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 7, 2018
This is the second incident in May when tourists were targetted by stone-pelters. Earlier on May 1, five tourists were injured when their vehicles were attacked by stone-pelters in Anantnag. Last week, one school bus of a private school which was transporting class 2 kids, was attacked by stone-pelters in Shopian. One kid was injured severely in the incident.
Kashmir has been in the grip of violence for the last two years now. Incidents of stone-pelting on security forces by locals are not new in the Valley but the recent attacks on tourists and school kids have posed a fresh challenge to the state and Centre in dealing with the situation with a firm hand in the militancy-hit border state.