The city erupted again on Wednesday when the body of a young man who had been missing for the last six days was found near a graveyard in the old city. Around 50 people, including policemen, were injured in the clashes.
Asrar Mushtaq Dar, 20, a commerce student at the local Islamia college, had disappeared after he left home on his way to the gym on Friday evening. Locals allege he was taken into police custody and never seen thereafter. Police stoutly denied having done so.
While thousands thronged his funeral, violent protesters set a police vehicle on fire and stoned police cars and government buildings. Police used tear gas and fired in the air to disperse them.
Dar’s body was found with a major wound in the head, according to the police.
“He left around 7 pm that day,” said his mother Kousar Firdous. “I called him on his mobile around 8 pm and he took my call. But I couldn’t hear him because of the noise in the background from wherever he was. Thereafter his mobile was always switched off.”
Violent protests against a series of alleged human rights abuses have been a regular feature of chief minister Omar Abdullah’s rule ever since he took over on January 5.
Fifteen people have been killed in police action and over 500 injured in these six months.
Dar’s mysterious disappearance was the third flashpoint in the past month. Similar protests broke out in Baramulla, 40 km from Srinagar on June 29, after a woman alleged she had been molested by local policemen. Four people were killed in police firing over the next two days
Earlier the mysterious rape and murder of two young women in Shopian, 50 km south of Srinagar, had set the entire Kashmir Valley on fire.
“The deteriorating law and order situation has put a big question mark over Omar Abdullah’s ability to govern,” said Tahir Mohiuddin, editor of the Urdu weekly, Chattan.
“We don’t see governance anywhere. We only see the police and the para military forces.”