Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 09:59 UK

Kashmir civilian dies as protesters throw stones

Kashmiri protesters throw stones at the police in Srinagar on April 23, 2010
Stone-pelting has become frequent in Kahsmir

A civilian has died in Indian-administered Kashmir after anti-India protesters threw stones at a bus in the capital, Srinagar, police say.

Shafiq Ahmed Sheikh was hit by a stone in the head and died later at hospital.

The incident in the Batmaloo area happened ahead of a planned march to a UN office called by separatists.

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

Last year, a prominent Kashmiri cleric said stone-pelting was un-Islamic.

The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says whether the violent crowd were targeting vehicles to disrupt traffic or had engaged the police is not immediately clear.

Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani had called the march to protest against alleged human rights violations by the Indian security forces. He has since been placed under house arrest.

Mr Geelani or his spokesman have not yet commented on the civilian killing.

Our correspondent says the authorities are unlikely to grant permission for the planned march as an order has been issued banning gatherings of four or more people in the city.


Throwing rocks and stones at the police is the favoured mode of protest in Kashmir.

Correspondents say such violent protests have become more frequent recently and they pose a challenge to the police who have to use teargas shells or fire their guns to break these protests.

Recently, the authorities charged some teenage stone-throwers under the Public Safety Act (PSA) which provides for detention without trial for up to two years - a move that was criticised by local human rights groups.

But last year, a prominent Islamic cleric in Kashmir, Moulvi Showkat, said that stone-pelting was "un-Islamic".

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