Tuesday, 8 May 2018

INDIA: Tourist Killed, Two Injured By Stone Throwing Demonstrators. India Blames Pakistan For Fueling Unrest

A 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu was killed and two members of his family, including his mother, were injured when their cab was attacked by a group of stone-pelters at Narbal on the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway on Monday.

Nearly half a dozen vehicles were attacked by the stone-pelters.

The stone-pelters were protesting against the killing of five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in an encounter in Shopian on Sunday.

The victim, identified as R Thirumani from Chennai, succumbed to head injuries in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences at Soura on the outskirts of Srinagar.

The family had arrived here on Sunday and was on its way to Gulmarg when it was attacked.

Police are investigating the incident, but no arrests have been made. It is unclear what the protests were about.

While clashes with security forces are frequent in the region, protesters in Kashmir have generally not targeted tourists.

Since 1989, the Muslim-majority state has seen an armed revolt against Indian rule.

The incident has also worried a few in the tourism industry.

We cannot tolerate this. The authorities must protect the tourists, Tariq Ahmad, a tour operator,said.

The industry is already suffering due to ongoing conflict, he added.

The incident comes a week after two children were injured when mobs hurled stones at a school bus carrying around 50 students.

In April, a curfew was imposed in parts of the state after 20 people were killed and 200 injured in fierce clashes between militants and government forces.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the region, which India and Pakistan claim in full.

India blames Pakistan for fuelling the unrest, a claim denied by Islamabad.

Two out of the three wars fought between the two nations have centred centred on Kashmir.

Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti rushed to hospital to console the tourists.

Stone-pelters threw stones on our cab and Thirumani was hit in the head that resulted in his death, a sobbing Rajwali, father of the deceased, told Mehbooba.

The joint resistance leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for a three-day shutdown and protests across Kashmir valley soon after the killing of five Hizbul terrorists and five stone-pelters at Badigam in Shopian on Sunday.

We have registered a case under FIR Number 57/2018 in Magam police station and investigation into the attack has been initiated. Culprits will be nabbed soon," a senior police officer said.

The attack on the tourists comes just five days after tourists were attacked by stone-pelters in south Kashmir.

One of the tourists, Ritu Devi from Mumbai, who was severely injured, also sustained head injuries in the attack.

In another attack at the same spot in Narbal, a 19-year-old Kashmiri girl identified as Sabreena from Handwara was injured when the group of rowdies pelted stones on the passing vehicles.

TOI has been reporting attacks on tourists by stone-pelters. The J&K tourism department, however, has denied these attacks.

On the killing of the tourist, J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said, My head hangs in shame. It is very sad and heartbreaking.

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, 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, Omar said, “I pray she the victim’s mother & others injured make a quick recovery.


Tourism Observer
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