Angry protests broke out in Indian Kashmir on Sunday as news spread about the death of a truck driver in a New Delhi hospital some 10 days after he was attacked by a mob with petrol bombs.
The mob attack came in the wake of rumours of cattle being slaughtered in the Himalayan territory.
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Protesters hurled stones at policemen in Anantnag, the home district of the driver, identified as Zahid Ahmed. Police responded with batons and by firing tear gas shells, NDTV reported.
Zahid, truck driver Shaukat Ahmed and a cleaner Rameez were travelling between Srinagar and Jammu on October 9 when their truck was attacked by a mob near Udhampur. The mob had been protesting what they claimed was the slaughter of three cows, though tests had shown the cattle died of food poisoning.
The mob broke the front glass of the truck before attacking it with a petrol bomb. Zahid and Shaukat suffered severe burn injuries while Rameez managed to jump to safety. The two truckers were shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi for treatment.
Officials said they had arrested seven men in connection with the attack. The kingpin, however, was still at large, they said. But on Sunday, Zahid succumbed to his injuries.
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The attack had sparked scuffles in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, with the opposition National Conference blaming the BJP and targeting the government for not disclosing political affiliation of attackers.
“The Honourary PM [Narendra Modi] passed the buck on to Akhilesh Yadav and the UP government for Dadri. Who will he blame for Zahid’s death now?” tweeted former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah as he held the BJP and its allies directly responsible for the deaths.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.