Angry mobs attacked the cavalcade of 18 legislators of Kashmir’s largest opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with stones when they were on the way to express solidarity with the family of 28-year-old youth killed in police custody in north Kashmir’s Sopore area.
At around 2 pm, the 18 MLAs and senior PDP leaders’ motorcade, escorted by the police, reached village Krankshivan in Sopore, the native village of the victim Nazim Rashid, who died in police custody on July 31.
Angry residents closed the door of the house and did not allow the PDP leaders to enter it.
The residents shouted slogans, demanding punishment to the police officers involved the killing. Many protesters pushed and shoved the PDP leaders.
Dozens of protesters started pelting stones at the vehicles, damaging window panes of four. The police resorted to aerial firing to chase away the stone-throwing protesters. All MLAs escaped unhurt in the attack.
“There is a genuine anger among people against the government. They attacked us for we were being accompanied by the same police officers involved in the killing.This protest was against the misdeeds of the government,” said PDP senior leader Iftikhar Ansari adding “we suspect policemen in civvies too fomented the trouble”.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, for the last three days, has been trying to reach out to the family in Sopore. She, however, was put house arrest.
“The legislators in the morning decided to visit Sopore since Mehbooba was not being allowed all these days. There was a common refrain in New Delhi last year that the PDP was not on the ground but when we try to do so we are dealt with such measures,” said PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar.
The PDP demanded immediate action against the perpetrators of the crime. “It’s not difficult to identify those who kicked this boy. Probes are nothing but ritual of this government. In May 2009, Abdullah claimed the dismissal of an officer allegedly involved in tortured and killing of a civilian at Aloochi Bagh, Srinagar. The officer continues to be in service.This reflects justice deliverance of this government,” said Akhtar.
Meanwhile, Sopore continued to observe a shutdown for third day on Tuesday. Heavy deployments of security forces were manning the streets all day to keep protesters at bay.
Mehbooba, who was placed under house again on Monday, was allowed to proceed to New Delhi. Mehbooba was escorted by security personnel till the airport. PDP has 21 MLAs and three MLCs in the state Legislature.
Superintendent of police Sopore Altaf Khan refused to comment on the incident saying “a report will be released by police headquarters in Srinagar.”