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1 killed in J&K protest
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 15, 2007 20:52 IST
One person was killed and 15 were injured, including a senior police officer and five other cops, when an unruly mob indulged in violence and torched two vehicles in the central Kashmir town of Magam on Saturday afternoon.
The protestors were demanding the setting up of a degree college in Magam town, 25 km from Srinagar [Images] in Budgam district.
The violence was triggered on Saturday morning after the state government announced the setting up of 18 colleges across the state, which did not include Magam.
"The police had to open fire as some miscreants indulged in arson and torched a state road transport corporation bus and also snatched a weapon from a constable who was injured in the heavy stone pelting by the mob," a senior police officer said.
"Six persons were injured in the police firing, of whom one critically injured person identified as Zahoor Hussain Mir succumbed to his injuries in the hospital," he added.
Hundreds of Magam villagers took to streets in the town and blocked the main highway to the famous north Kashmir mountain resort of Gulmarg. The protestors later indulged in heavy stone pelting on the police who responded by firing tear gas, and baton charges.
The authorities deployed the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force in the town to restore order.
However, the mob continued to regroup and threw stones on the steel-helmeted cops. "Miscreants torched the vehicle of a senior police officer in the town late in the afternoon. The officer along with his guard was wounded in the heavy stone pelting," the senior officer said.
Authorities on Saturday evening deployed more paramilitary forces in the town, where tension is running high.
Senior civil and police officers are camping in Magam town. Though the body of the civilian killed in the police firing was handed over to his relatives on Saturday evening, hundreds of villagers continued to stage protests in the town.
The state cabinet on Friday evening okayed the setting up of 18 new colleges in the state, nine of which were sanctioned for Kashmir Valley.
Magam residents say despite promises made by the state administration to them, the long pending demand of the area was not met, which led to Saturday's widespread anger and violence.