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Toddler dies during Kashmir stone-pelting

By Mukhtar Ahmed
February 22, 2010 21:36 IST
An 11-day old toddler died during heavy stone pelting near north Kashmir's Baramulla town late on Monday afternoon after his mother panicked and the infant fell off her lap.

Baramulla witnessed fierce clashes between security forces and protestors for the third day running triggered by the recent arrests by police of some youth they say are involved in stone pelting in Baramulla.

A senior police officer said that the parents were carrying sick infant to Baramulla for treatment when their vehicle was caught in heavy stone pelting near village Chakla on the outskirts of Baramulla town.

The husband-wife duo tried to abandon the vehicle they were travelling in for safety when the baby fell off the panicky mothers lap and died on the spot, the officer said. The heavy stone pelting in the town continued till late on Monday evening with the security forces responding by firing tear gas and baton charges.

A police spokesman said, "As result of heavy stone pelting not only was her four-year old son Ubaid seriously injured, but eleven- day old infant, Irfan slipped out from lap and died instantly on the spot."

In the adjoining Sopore town too security forces fired warning shots in air and used tear smoke and baton charges to disperse the protestors in the town.In the Maisuma locality of Srinagar, police had to use tear gas and batons to disperse the protestors which led to closure of shops and businesses in the city centre Lal Chowk.

Police sources said nearly two dozen persons including security men and protestors were wounded in the clashes.

Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar