My head hangs in shame, says Mehbooba Mufti after Chennai tourist dies in stone-pelting
A tourist from Chennai died after being hit by a stone during a protest on Srinagar-Gulmarg road in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, a day after five militants and as many civilians were killed in the restive state.
Officials identified the tourist as 21-year-old Thirumani, who was hit in his head in the morning and was taken to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where he died due to his injuries.
Director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid said: “Some two-three vehicles had come under a bout of stone-pelting in which the tourist from Chennai died.”
The man was travelling in a group of 40 people towards the ski resort of Gulmarg when they were targeted by stone-pelters, according to reports. A local woman too was injured in the stone-pelting.
“My head hangs in shame,” said chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. “It is very sad and heartbreaking”, she said after meeting the family of the deceased.
Opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah said, “We’ve killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let’s try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters & their methods.”
The former chief minister prayed for the recovery of the woman injured in the incident. “I’m also pained to know that among the injured from the stone pelting in Narbal is a young woman from Handwara in North Kashmir. I pray she & the others injured make a quick recovery,” he tweeted.
On Monday, Kashmir’s roads and markets wore a deserted look following a strike by separatists against the deaths in Shopian during and after Sunday’s encounter. Commercial establishments remained closed and the government shut schools.
A Hizbul Mujahideen commander and an assistant professor of the Kashmir University were among the five militants killed in a gunfight. Five civilians succumbed to bullet injuries in clashes with security forces.
On April 30, seven tourists were injured when stone-throwers targeted vehicles in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The injured were part of a group of 47 tourists travelling in four vans. And on May 2, a Class 2 student was seriously injured by stone-pelters who targeted his school bus in Shopian.
As many as 41 people – including militants, civilians and security personnel – were killed in Kashmir in April. Eighteen have died this month.
(With agency inputs)