Kashmir truck attack victim dies, violence rages

Srinagar, Oct 18 (IANS) Violence raged in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday after a 16-year-old injured in a bomb attack on a truck in Udhampur on October 9 died in Delhi, police and residents said.

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

Bhat and another Kashmiri from Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Dar, 35, sustained major injuries when a mob hurled a petrol bomb on their stationary truck at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Udhampur District Magistrate Shahid Chowdhary on Sunday said that murder charges had been added to the FIR against the five attackers arrested earlier. They were first accused of rioting and stoking communal passion.

The accused are Sandoor Singh, Danish alias Pamma, Harish Singh, Balbahadur Singh and Varinder Singh alias Kaka.

The accused were also booked under the Public Safety Act, normally used against terrorists in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

The attack took place following a beef party hosted by independent legislator Engineer Rashid in Srinagar.

As news of the death in Delhi spread on Sunday, 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.

They also pelted stones at security personnel who tried to disperse them with tear gas, triggering street battles.

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

The separatists have called for a shutdown in the Kashmir Valley on Monday.

Both the victims of the attack were flown to Safdarjung Hospital which specializes in treating burn injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had visited them at the hospital three days back.

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