Rajouri, Poonch observe shutdown and protests against Awantipora death

KL Report

JAMMU

Rajouri and Pooch districts observed complete shutdown on Wednesday, to protest against the death of a tourist in Kashmir. Ravi Kant Sharma, succumbed in SKIMS, yesterday. He was injured during violent clashes between forces and the people in Awantipora, some days back when valley was observing protests against the alleged desecration of Quran and the death of four civilians in Gool, Ramban.

Agitating protesters blocked Jammu-Poonch highway and several towns of Sunderbani, Noushera, Kalakote, Rajouri and Poonch observed complete shutdown on the call given by Bajrang Dal, VHP and Shiv Sena, sources said.

Sharma (38), a resident of Rajouri district of Jammu region, was injured at Awantipora, on Srinagar-Jammu Highway on July 19.

Sharma was hit by a stone on the head during protests against the killing of four persons allegedly by security forces in Ramban district. He was admitted to SKIMS hospital where he breathed his last yesterday.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh to his family.

Over 1,500 protesters, raising anti-government slogans assembled in Sunderbani belt, native place of the deceased, and blocked the highway, which left more than 300 vehicles stranded on the route.

They demanded arrest of those involved in the incident and ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh and government job for the Sharma’s kin.

Sources said that at least four persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the stone-pelting incident in Awantipora, on July, 19.

The protests began last evening when news of Sharma’s death spread in the Sunderbani town and continued till late night, when the protesters marched to SDM office and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

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