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Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times
Srinagar, December 22, 2012
At a time when the country is convulsed over the safety of woman, the police in Kashmir choose to act against first woman 'stone-thrower' who allegedly participated in the 2010 street protests in Anantnag district.
Zahida Akhtar, a resident of Boetengh village of Khanbal in Anantnag district, has become first woman to be arrested for stone pelting and rioting during the 2010 street protests, which had Kashmir on a boil for around five months. The 2010 protests were triggered after a youth was killed in police action in June in old city in Srinagar.

Akhtar was arrested on Friday and lodged in Sadar Police station in Anantnag, 60 km south of Srinagar.

"The police visited our house on Thursday and were looking for her. We assured the police to bring her to the police station next day. When we took her to the police station, she was arrested. We don't know why she was arrested," said Adil Ahmad Dar, brother of Akhtar who runs a cosmetic shop.

The police had booked Akhtar under Section 148, rioting with deadly weapon; 149, participation in an unlawful assembly; 355, use of force with criminal intent; 336, endangering life of a person, of the Ranbir Penal Code in an FIR.

Akhtar's father Ghulam Ahmad Dar said her daughter received a bullet in right leg when she was part of the funeral of Maroof Ahmad Nath, a local youth who jumped into a river and died after police chased him in September 2010. Two youth died when security forces fired upon the crowd carrying the body of Nath.

"She was a bystander. Everyone was protesting against the killing of Nath. In 2010, every resident of Anantnag was protesting, why are they after my daughter only? And why after two years?" asked Dar, a farmer by profession.

The family said Akhtar is a school dropout and is on medication. "She is not well and is on medication. The bullet has already crippled her life," said Adil.

Senior superintendent of police, Anantnag, Ramesh Kumar Jala said Akhtar had been let off. Akhtar's brother Adil, however, said he did not get the custody of her sister till late in the afternoon.