Tension gripped Kanidawar locality in Srinagar on Thursday after people staged a violent protest alleging that a resident was beaten to death in police custody, but the police denied the charge.
A police spokesman said Mehraj-ud-din Sheikh was found heavily drunk outside his house in Nowhatta area in downtown Srinagar late on Wednesday night and was taken to hospital where he died in the wee hours on Thursday.
However, Sheikh's relatives staged a demonstration here alleging that he along with his neighbour Ghulam Qadir was taken into custody by police on Wednesday night and Sheikh beaten to death.
A group of protesters indulged in stone-pelting, prompting the shopkeepers to pull down the shutters, official sources said. Police fired a teargas shell and used batons to chase away the protesters.
Denying the allegations of Sheikh's relatives, police maintained that he died due to excessive intake of liquor.
"We had received a complaint that Sheikh and Qadir under the influence of liquor were creating problems for the residents during the evening hours.
"A police party rushed to the locality and found both of them heavily drunk and shifted them to nearby Rainawari hospital," the police spokesman said.
He said while Qadir responded to treatment, Sheikh's condition worsened and subsequently he was shifted to Soura Medical institute where he died.
"There are some vested interests who are bent upon creating trouble by spreading rumours," the spokesman said and advised people to remain vigilant.