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Violence in Kashmir following boy's death

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: August 26, 2010 00:19 IST

Violence rocked the Soura locality of the curfew bound summer capital Srinagar on Wednesday after another teenager succumbed to injuries in the hospital taking the death toll in the Kashmir unrest since June 11 to 64.

Police opened fire to quell the protests after warning shots, teargassing and repeated baton charges had failed to restore order in the area wounding eight protestors who were hospitalised.

Amir Qayoom Bhat, 18, had been admitted to the Soura Medical Institute on August 23 and attending doctors at the hospital said he had died of 'lung contusion and pulmonary syndrome'.

The relatives and the locals alleged the teenager had been severely beaten up by the security forces on Friday last during the protestor-security force clashes in the Soura locality of the city. A police spokesman said Amir who had been arrested was, however, released after two days. 

With the death of the teenager on Wednesday, the death toll in the Kashmir unrest since June 11 has now risen to 64.

The body of the teenager was handed over to the family for burial on Wednesday afternoon.

However, fierce clashes erupted as the news about the boy's death spread in the Soura locality of the city.

Angry protestors took to streets in the area and indulged in heavy stone pelting on the security forces who responded with firing teargas and baton charges.

The protestors attacked the local police station hurling stones and rocks at the building.

The protestors burnt a police vehicle and a private car parked inside the ancestral home of Sheikh Abdullah, founder of the ruling National Conference and grandfather of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and roughed up the police guards.

The house of late Sheikh Abdullah had been gutted in a fire incident in early 1990's.

The house of a kin of the Abdullah's was also subjected to stone pelting.

Thousands of people shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans joined the funeral prayers of the teenager.

Authorities had imposed curfew in nine police stations in summer capital Srinagar and in central Kashmir Budgam town, south Kashmir towns of Bejibehara and Anantnag.

A police spokesman in Srinagar said security forces opened fire to disperse a stone pelting mob in the south Kashmir'd Pampore town on Wednesday afternoon injuring a youth who was evacuated to hospital for treatment.

Hundreds of people later staged protests in the Saffron rich town situated on the Srinagar Jammu national highway.

Reports of stone pelting and clashes have come in from north Kashmir's  Palhallan and Bandipore towns and south Kashmir's Shopian town.

A separatist sponsored shutdown completely paralyzed life in Kashmir on Wednesday.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar