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Kashmir CM gets shoed

Srinagar, Sunday, August 15, 2010:

KAshmir CM gets shoed
Omar Abdullah standing with his police chief as the hurled shoe flies atop.

A policeman hurled a shoe at chief minister of Indian administered Kashmir Omar Abdullah during the Indian Independence day celebrations in a highly guarded stadium in summer capital Srinagar Sunday.

The shoe fell near the dais and the thrower was whisked away by security guards.

A police spokesman identified the show thrower as Abdul Ahad Jan, a suspended Head Constable.

Jan was sitting in the VIP lounge behind the chief minister and hurled the shoe when Abdullah was standing after unfurling the Indian flag.

The shoe thrower also reportedly shouted "we want freedom".

The spokesman described Jan was “reportedly mentally unsound” and facing criminal charges.

Abdullah, the youngest chief minister of Indian administered Kashmir, has drawn flak for repeated killings of civilian protestors in the region in the last two months.

The incident has come as an embarrassment for the security establishment, as well as for the chief minister.

It reflects the deep resentment against Abdullah, and New Delhi’s rule in the region, where the government forces have been acting tough on peaceful demonstrations and stone throwing protestors.

More than 55 people, mostly youth protestors, have been killed by police, since June 11.

Indian government justifies killings as a defence against mob violence, but no policeman or official have been killed by mobs in the region.

Last week, chief minister Abdullah was greeted by slippers and hostile slogans when he visited some of the injured civilian victims in a hospital.

Abdullah’s visit came a day after a New Delhi based channel suggested Abdullah should visit the injured.

Meanwhile curfew like restrictions were clamped across Kashmir to prevent protests on the Indian Independence day.

Authorities had imposed severe restrictions around the Bhakshi stadium, the venue of the main ceremony, and deployed sharp shooters on the rooftops of houses around the venue to ward of any militant attack.

Six people died in police firing on fresh protests on Friday and Saturday throwing the region into further chaos.

The latest killings, in the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan came three days after Indian prime minister Manmoman Singh expressed grief on previous killings, and talked of a political and economic package for the region.

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