Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Indian tourist hurt by stone-throwing in Kashmir dies

AP, SRINAGAR, India

An Indian tourist was killed during a stone-throwing protest in Kashmir, officials said yesterday, as the disputed region shut down for a third straight day following the killings of civilians and rebels during weekend gunbattles and anti-India protests.

The tourist, from Tamil Nadu state, was critically wounded overnight when protesters pelted stones at the minibus he was traveling in on his way back from a resort near western Narbal village, police said.

The 22-year-old was shifted to a hospital in Jammu and Kashmir state’s main city of Srinagar, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Separatists challenging India’s sovereignty over Kashmir and pro-India Kashmiri politicians condemned the incident.

The region’s top elected official, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, called the tourist’s death “sad and heartbreaking.”

Top separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in a tweet that he was “deeply saddened.”

During the past few years, authorities have vigorously campaigned to lure Indian and international visitors to the region as a symbol of normalcy after decades of raging anti-India insurgency.

However, repeated gunfights, anti-India protests, travel warnings by Western governments and extensive media coverage of the violence have hurt tourism.

Shops, schools and businesses were shut again yesterday to protest the killings of eight rebels and six civilians during anti-India protests and fighting with government forces over the weekend.

Police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled across the region and enforced a security lockdown in old parts of Srinagar, the urban heart of anti-India protests.

Internet on cellphones also remained suspended for the third straight day, a common practice by Indian authorities to make organizing protests more difficult.

Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Indian-controlled Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country.

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