Srinagar: In the first incident in recent times of a tourist falling prey to the Kashmir unrest, a 22-year-old tourist from Chennai passed away on Monday after being injured in stone pelting on Srinagar-Gulmarg Road near Narbal.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met the deceased's family at the hospital late on Monday night. She later said, "My head hangs in shame. It is very sad and heartbreaking."
Another 19-year-old girl, identified as Sabreena from Handwara, too, suffered injuries and is undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
The deceased has been identified as Thirumani, son of Rajwali, a Chennai resident. He succumbed to his injuries after a vehicle he was travelling in got caught in the clashes between security forces and stone pelters on Monday morning in Kashmir's Budgam area.
He was referred to the SKIMS hospital in Srinagar in a “serious condition” where he passed away in the evening.
Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah wrote in a series of tweets, "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."
"This young man from Chennai died in my constituency & while I don’t support these goons, their methods or their ideology I’m deeply, deeply sorry that this happened at all & that too in an area I’ve been proud to represent since 2014," he wrote.
An FIR has been registered at the Magam police station under Sections 148, 247, 307, 336 of RPC. Police have initiated an investigation to nab the culprits.
At least 24 people have lost their lives in different incidents of violence across Kashmir in the past week. On Sunday five militants were killed in an encounter in Shopian which triggered massive clashes between civilians and security forces leading to five civilians being killed in Kulgam.
As reports of gunfight trickled in on Sunday, youth took to the streets and clashed with security forces. In retaliation, forces fired live ammunition, pellets and tear gas at the protesters, injuring dozens. Five of them succumbed to their injuries and were identified as Asif Ahmad Mir, Zubair Ahmad Negroo, Yasir Ahmad, Adil Ahmad and Sajad Ahmad.
On Saturday, three militants, including two locals, were killed in Srinagar. In clashes that ensured, a civilian was crushed under the wheels of an armored vehicle. A video of the civilian’s death was widely circulated on social media despite curbs on internet services.