Kashmir tense after truck attack victim dies, separatists call for shutdown

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SRINAGAR: Hurriyat Conference, both factions, Sunday called for a shutdown on October 19 to protest the death of Zahid Rasool Bhat who succumbed to his injuries today at a hospital in New Delhi.

The factions, led by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, appealed people to observe complete strike to protest the incident.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) headed by Yasin Malik has also issued call for a complete shutdown on Monday.

Bhat had sustained 70 per cent injuries after a truck in which he was sleeping along with two other Kashmiris was set ablaze by a mob in Udhampur on Oct 9.

He passed away at noon today at Delhi’s Safdurjung hospital.

Police on Sunday issued a statement that violence erupted in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday after a 16-year-old injured in a bomb attack on a truck on October 9 died in Delhi.

Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was being treated for burn injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, died on Sunday, a senior police officer.

Bhat and another Kashmiri from Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Dar, 35, sustained serious injuries when their parked truck was attacked by a mob with a petrol bomb at Udhampur town on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

The attack, allegedly by a Hindu mob, took place in the aftermath of a beef party hosted by independent legislator Engineer Rashid in Srinagar.

As news of the death in Delhi spread, mobs took to the streets in the southern district of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by burning tyres.

The highway is the only road link between the Kashmir Valley and the rest of India.

The protesters shouted slogans against the government, and pelted stones at security personnel who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells, witnesses said.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the government was to blame for Bhat’s death as it failed to provide security to the truckers.

Targeting the state and the Central government, former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said they cannot wash their hands off the issue.

“Another needless death in the name of #BeefBan for which the BJP & its affiliates including allies are directly responsible. And to think that all the state government could do was to throw 10,000 rupees at #Zahid and wash its hands off the whole thing #BeefMurder,” he wrote on microblogging site, Twitter.

“The Hon PM passed the buck on to @yadavakhilesh & the UP Govt for #Dadri. Who will he blame for #Zahid’s death now???” he questioned.

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