A 17-year-old boy died after sustaining injuries on his head during a stone-pelting incident in Srinagar on Friday. Locals alleged he died in police action but the police have denied the charge.
Tufail Ahmad Matoo, a higher secondary school student was hit at the Gani Memorial Stadium in Rajouri Kadal where eyewitnesses said he was playing cricket. He was rushed to Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, where doctors said he was brought dead.
“He has been hit hard by something on his skull. His skull had fractured and brain matter had come out. He had died on the spot. I don’t think it was a bullet injury,” said hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Altaf.
Locals, however, said Matoo was hit after the police chased a stone-pelting mob. They said some boys were playing cricket at the Gani Memorial ground when a mob ran through it, chased by the police.
“The police entered the ground and starting chasing everybody. There was panic all around and they (police) fired. Within seconds, we saw a youth fall down with a bat in his hand,” said an eyewitness not wishing to be named. “Then somebody in a Maruti car took him to hospital,” he said.
Superintendent of Police (North City) Rashid Paul denied the locals’ allegation. “He (Matoo) was either hit by a stone or may have fallen down. We neither fired bullets nor tear gas shells,” he said.
A police press note said, “As per medical examination of the wound of the victim the case appears to be of a deliberate murder. The police is on the lookout for the two persons who dropped the deceased at the SMHS hospital in a Maruti car and disappeared from the scene.”
Stone-pelting had erupted in the old city on Friday afternoon on a 2-km stretch from Gaw Kadal to Safa Kadal area. “The police were unable to control the stone-pelting today. Dozens of tear-gas shells were fired by police,” said a resident of the old city.