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Omar blames separatists for man's death during protests

Source: PTI
April 30, 2010 17:53 IST
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Questioning the silence of separatists over the killing of a civilian in stone-pelting, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday accused them of putting the lives of innocent people at risk by encouraging such protests.

"Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had a given a call for Friday protests and is encouraging stone pelting, and his followers are responsible for the death of the innocent person and they were responsible for the death of the 10-day-old boy in Baramulla some months ago," Omar said.

He said the silence of the separatists on the issue showed that they are "using opportunities like this, seemingly, to embarrass the government, but actually putting the lives of innocent people at risk".

The separatists would have taken to the streets if the killing had been at the hands of security personnel, Omar said, but as the stone-pelters had acted "on the direction of a separatist leader, the same separatist leaders will today be sitting quietly at home and will not come out and condemn it".

He said if the separatists and the Opposition People's Democratic Party do not condemn the incident with the "same ferocity and intensity, they will be accused, and rightly so, of hypocrisy".

Opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said the killing was highly condemnable, but added that the incident cannot be taken in isolation, and cited the alleged killings of civilians by security forces.

"We come out against all types of killings; whether by security forces or by stone- pelters," Mufti said.

The PDP leader said her party was not supporting any kind of violence. "We are not supporting people to go and kill other people. In fact, it was Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who said on the floor of the House that he is going to rehabilitate the stone-pelters," he said.

"You can't book children under 15 years of age under the Public safety Act," she said.

Shafiq Ahmad Sheikh, 40, was traveling from Natipora to Batmaloo in a bus. He was fatally injured during stone-pelting by a mob which was protesting against the house arrest of hard-line Hurriyat leader Geelani.

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