Boy's fatal shooting fuels anger in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India // A boy shot by security forces in Indian Kashmir died in hospital yesterday, taking the death toll to three during protests over the weekend execution of a local separatist.

Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim hanged on Saturday after being convicted over a deadly raid on the Indian parliament in 2001, is seen by many in Kashmir as having been framed by police for the crime.

His death has led to severe criticism of the government, which failed to inform his family before the execution, and sparked a new debate about India's renewed use of the death penalty after an eight-year informal moratorium.

Fearing a backlash in Kashmir, where anti-India feelings run deep after more than two decades of separatist fighting, authorities have imposed a curfew, arrested local politicians and restricted the local press and internet.

Crowds of mostly young men have defied the orders. A boy called Ubaid Mushtaq, who doctors say was aged 12 or 13, died in hospital in the early hours of Monday after being shot in the village of Watergam.

A police source said around 3,500 people had attended Ubaid's funeral Monday in Watergam near Guru's hometown of Sopore.

Two other men died on Sunday after they drowned trying to escape police during a demonstration in the village of Sumbal, about 25 kilometres north of the main city of Srinagar.

The handling of Guru's execution has been severely criticised by Kashmir's chief minister Omar Abdullah, who said it would deepen the sense of frustration and alienation in India's only Muslim-majority state.


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