11 February 2012 SRINAGAR, India (AFP) — Protesters blocked a main highway in restive Indian Kashmir on Saturday after a young man was shot dead by the army in what military officials described as an ‘accidental’ shooting.
Ashiq Hussain Rather, 22, was killed late Friday when a soldier accidentally fired his rifle as security forces combed the area for militants, the army said.
The killing occurred in the Baramulla district of the scenic Kashmir valley.
‘It was a case of the accidental discharge of a single bullet by a soldier which led to the unfortunate incident,’ Lieutenant General S.A. Hasnain told the Press Trust of India.
‘The deceased was innocent. Inquiries have been ordered,’ he added.
blocking traffic along the main Kupwara-Baramulla highway in Indian Kashmir, according to media reports.
There are nearly a dozen Kashmir militant groups fighting for the divided Muslim-majority region to become part of Pakistan and over 47,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the separatist insurgency in Kashmir in 1989.
But militant violence has dropped sharply in Kashmir since India and Pakistan, which each hold part of the Himalayan region and claim it in full, started a peace process in 2004.
The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, Omar Abdullah, said the government would investigate the death.
‘We will ascertain the facts and any action will follow after that,’ Abdullah told India’s NDTV channel.