INDIA: Protests over Kashmir boy's death

[2 February 2010] - There has been another protest in Indian-administered Kashmir over the killing of a 15-year-old boy by a police tear-gas round.

Wamiq Farooq died after being struck in the head by a shell, which was fired as police tried to disperse a protest against Indian rule on Sunday.

At least 17 protesters and eight troops were hurt as protests continued in the regional capital, Srinagar, on Monday.

The officer who fired the fatal shell has now been suspended, officials say.

Meanwhile, two factions of the separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference have organised a strike that has closed many local shops and disrupted the road network.


Earlier, huge crowds gathered outside the home of Wamiq Farooq on Tuesday before his body was carried out for a funeral procession.

Witnesses said Wamiq had gone out to play to cricket and was not among the protestors who clashed with the police on Sunday.

Clashes between stone-throwers and the police have become regular occurrences in Srinagar for almost a year now. The police say they have even drawn up a list of the young men who are often involved.

Lawyers and human rights groups have criticised the police for charging stone-throwers under the Public Safety Act.

The law imposes two years of detention without trial for anyone who poses a threat to the security of the state, but legal experts say stone-throwing is a minor offence that could be dealt with under "ordinary laws".

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan both claim sovereignty and have fought two wars.


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