Srinagar: In a second attack in last three days, angry protesters on Tuesday attacked the motorcade of Higher Education Minister, Mohammad Akbar Lone in Hajin town of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The senior NC Minister, who represents Sonawari constituency in the state Assembly, was attacked in Sadu Nara area, where he had gone to attend a party meeting, eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader.
They said Lone’s cavalcade was attacked by angry youth, who had prior information about his visit to the area. “As soon as the youth spotted Lone’s cavalcade, they hurled stones on it. The CRPF troopers lobbed teargas canisters and fired from pellet guns to disperse the protesters. However, defiant youth continued renewed attacks on the forces,” said Mohammad Tahir, a local resident.
Additional deployments were rushed to the area to contain the protests. However, the stone pelting youth regrouped from small alleys leading to intensified clashes.
Reports said Lone had to beat a hasty retreat after clashes between protesters and government forces turned intense. While fleeing from the area, Lone was again attacked by the stone pelting youth, reports said.
The youth also ransacked the house of ruling National Conference activist Ali Muhammad Sheikh where the party meet was held, reports said, adding that at least five people suffered injuries in violent clashes that continued till late evening.
Lone’s cavalcade had earlier come under attack on Saturday last in Shah Gund, the native village of teenager Farhat Ahmad Dar, who was shot dead by government forces last month. Protesters had also attacked the houses of NC some activists.
Meanwhile, Lone accused opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Ikhwan, a group of gunmen sponsored by the government and the army, for carrying out attacks on him “in the disguise of Hurriyat Conference cadres.”
“It is election time, and these things happen. Some miscreants from Hajin, which gave birth to notorious Ikhwan, pelted stones on my cavalcade and rally. These Ikhwanis, who in the past wreaked havoc in Kashmir, are now disguising themselves as Hurriyat cadres,” he told local news agencies.
He also accused PDP of funding activists of the renegade group. He said the president of Ikhwan in Hajin was a known car-lifter and weed smuggler.
“Ikhwan men are disguising as pro-freedom youth and resorting to stone-throwing at us along with PDP,” Lone said, urging the Hurriyat to identify the stone pelting youth and disown them after verification.
“Hurriyat must come forward as these people are using its name and resort to hooliganism and stone-pelting. I am sure Hurriyat doesn’t believe in stone-pelting and they should condemn it,” Lone added.