One of the two protesters, who were hit by a CRPF vehicle during clashes after Friday prayers outside Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, succumbed to injuries in hospital later at night.
Police sources said two cases under Sections 307,148,149,152,336,427 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and under Section 279 (rash driving), 337 of the RPC were registered in connection with the mob violence and the vehicle accident.
Qaiser Bhat, 21, from Srinagar’s Fateh Kadal, became the first civilian casualty since the Centre announced ‘cease-ops’ during Ramzan 18 days ago. He was run over by a CRPF vehicle, which was negotiating its way through stone-throwing protesters, outside the mosque. Bhat was brought to the SKIMS hospital after suffering “serious chest injury and multiple fractures” and died at night, hospital authorities said. His death has set off a fresh wave of protests.
‘Mob attacked officers’
CRPF spokesman Sanjay Sharma said the crowd tried to open the back door of the vehicle on patrol. “The second-in-command of 28 CRPF Battalion was taking stock of the security deployment [when it was attacked]. The mob tried to take the officer and his escort out of the vehicle. Youth climbed over the vehicle and started smashing it with stones. The driver managed to take the vehicle out of crowd,” he said.
CRPF vehicle was on a different mission
The death of a protester after being hit by a CRPF vehicle outside the Jamia Masjid here took place even as the police had decided to keep away from the mosque to ensure a “peaceful congregation” and “avoid confrontation after previous Friday’s deadly clashes left over 50 injured”, sources said.
The CRPF vehicle, not part of the area domination exercise, was heading for a different assignment when it was caught amid protesters, sources said.
Violence erupted during the victim’s funeral at Fateh Kadal. Security forces used tear gas to contain the crowds at the procession. Separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik were not allowed to attend the funeral and were detained in their houses or at local police stations.
The separatists’ call for a shutdown following the incident hit life in the Valley on Saturday. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a separatist forum, had issued the call. .“What is worse is that after mowing down [Qaiser] Bhat, a case for ‘rash driving’ was registered. Curfew and severe restrictions, snapping Internet connection, barricading roads and alleys in the holy month of Ramzan were causing grave inconvenience to people,” said a JRL spokesman.
Omar Abdullah, National Conference leader, expressed anguish over the incident.
“Ceasefire means no guns, so use jeeps. Earlier they tied people to the fronts of jeeps and paraded them around villages to deter protesters. Now they just drive their jeeps right over protesters. Is this your new SoP (standard operating procedure) Mehbooba Mufti sahiba,” he said. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Monga termed the incident “a violation of SoP by the CRPF.