SRINAGAR, APRIL 19: Government forces Saturday resorted to aerial firing to disperse protesters who roughed up a member of Indian Parliament in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.
A senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party and a Rajya Sabha member, Nazir Ahmad Laway was manhandled and one of the vehicles in his cavalcade set ablaze by protesters in Bugam area of the district, police sources said.
Laway had arrived in the village to participate in an official function being organized in a school in the village – a stronghold of Jamat-e-Islami – when the residents attacked him.
Sources said that the police managed to rescue Laway but the principal was taken hostage by the angry residents for not “heeding to their call of not inviting a pro-India leader”.
Separatist sentiment runs deep in this village which boycotted the assembly and parliamentary elections held last year.
Reports said that not a single voter among the 8000-strong electorate turned up at the polling stations in assembly elections last year.
The residents had warned pro-India leaders against visiting the village during the elections and as such none of the politicians could canvass in the area.
“We had warned the principal of the school already. But he didn’t lend an ear to the call,” a resident said. “So we locked the school.”
The residents later pelted stones at the forces who responded with aerial firing and tear smoke shelling.
The crowd also set ablaze two vehicles belonging to workers of the PDP.