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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Stone-pelters target school bus with 40 children in Kashmir, injure boy

The attack took place in the Shopian district of the state. Police are combing the area to nab the miscreants.

india Updated: May 02, 2018 18:06 IST

Agencies, Srinagar
The child who was injured when the school bus he was travelling in was targeted by stone-pelters.
The child who was injured when the school bus he was travelling in was targeted by stone-pelters.(Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

Three children were injured, one seriously, after a group of stone-pelters attacked their school bus in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Wednesday, police said, triggering an outrage across the Kashmir valley.

Eight-year-old Rehan was hit by a stone on his head after unknown people pelted stones on the bus. The Class 2 student was taken to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment, where doctors treating him said his condition was stable.

Shopian’s superintendent of police Shailender Kumar Mishra said the incident happened around 9:25am when the bus carrying at least 40 students of Rainbow High School at Zavoora in Shopian was passing through Narpora area of Shopian.

“The driver showed some presence of mind and increased the speed so that he could avoid getting hit. However, unfortunately, a child was seriously hurt in his head. We had his CT scan, he is currently fine,” Mishra said.

Mishra added that two other students also received some minor injuries and they were sent home after first aid.

“The kids are scared. We could not ask them about the attackers,” he said.

The senior official said the police are trying to identify those involved in the attack and they will make some arrests soon.

Nooruddin, Rehan’s father, said while speaking to reporters that the attack was against humanity.

“These kids are innocent and they have nothing to do with anything. If anything, school buses should not be targeted. Everybody has kids. This could have happened to anybody’s child. School buses should not become the target of stone pelting,” he said.

Thousands of stone pelting incidents have been reported in Kashmir since 2016 but targeting a school bus has been rare.

Many people, officials and politicians expressed outrage over the incident. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who said “perpetrators of this senseless and cowardly act will be brought to justice”.

“Complete madness how stone pelters are targeting young school children. These criminals will face the law,” the state’s director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid tweeted.

Expressing his anguish former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said, “How does pelting stones on school children or tourist buses help advance the agenda of these stone pelters? These attacks deserve our unequivocal condemnation.”

Abdullah questioned the acts of stone pelters who took advantage of the government’s amnesty.

“The amnesty granted to stone-pelters was meant to encourage more reasonable behaviour, but some of these goons are determined to use the opportunity given to them to just pelt more stones,” he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government last year announced an amnesty to some 9,000 first time stone pelters and those who were booked by the police on the recommendation of Centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma.

The move was aimed at bringing stone pelters back to their families to help them lead a peaceful life and restart their education or careers.

National Conference spokesperson Junaid Mattu also condemned the incident and took a dig at separatists.

“One would expect (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani and Mirwaiz (Umar Farooq) to take a conscientious call and condemn stone pelting while reserving the right to espouse their political ideologies through non-violence. You can’t claim the moral high ground while refusing to condemn this unequivocally,” he said.

Seven tourists were injured when stone-pelters targeted passing vehicles in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday evening. Officials said a group of youngsters pelted stones at the vehicles carrying both local residents and tourists in Ashmuqam area of Pahalgam around 8pm.

The injured were part of a group of 47 tourists travelling in four vans.

(With agency inputs)