At 13, J&K boy is a veteran stone-pelter
He is only 13. Yet as part of protesting mobs, he has pelted stones at the security forces at least 50 times.
What was he protesting against on these occasions? He doesn't know.
Determined to curb stone pelting, which is fast becoming an integral part of civil protests in the Kashmir Valley, the police have begun identifying and tracking down some of the regular stone throwers.
On Friday, they zeroed in on this 13-year-old veteran at his home in downtown Srinagar.
No one knows his real name. But the locals — among whom he is famous — call him Vairedaath, 'deadly accident' in Kashmiri.
Vairedaath works in a local store, dusting and cleaning it, but called himself a salesman when the police were questioning him.
"He doesn't even know the difference between a cleaner and a salesman," a police official handling the case, said.
Instead of booking him and sending him to a juvenile home, however, the police, after questioning, have sent him back to his family.
"He is just an immature boy who didn't know what he was doing," said Superintendent of Police (north) Showkat Shah.
"He didn't do it for the money," Shah added. (There is evidence that many stone throwers are paid to do so.)
"He does not even regard the stone pelting as a form of protest. Though he admitted to throwing stones at the security stones when I met him in the lock up, he could not say he did so."
Vairedaath's father is dead. His mother is ailing. He dropped out of school after Class III.
"Teachers would beat me, so I hated going to school," he told the police.