Trucker injured in bomb attack dies, PSA slapped on accused

Trucker injured in bomb attack dies, PSA slapped on accused

One of the two persons injured in Udhampur petrol bomb attack on a Kashmir-bound truck died today after battling for life for nine days, sparking fresh protest in some areas in the Valley, even as the stringent Public Safety Act was slapped against five of the accused.

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah attacked BJP and its allies over the incident and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi as to who would be blamed for the death of Zahid Ahmed.

Zahid, the conductor of the truck targeted in the October 9 attack, died this morning at Safdurjung Hospital in Delhi, where he was admitted with 74 per cent burns.

The police said that five of the seven persons arrested in connection with the petrol bomb attack, that claimed one life and left another critically injured, have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Those booked under the PSA are Sandoor Singh, Danesh alias Pamma, Harish Singh Katoch, Balbahadur Singh alias Abbu and Varinder Singh alias Kaka, an official said.

The decision to book the five accused under PSA was taken by the District Magistrate Udhampur based on a dossier submitted by the district police which pointed out to their criminal history as they had several FIRs already lodged against them.

According to the dossier, these persons have been booked for planning and executing a criminal conspiracy aiming at disturbing peace and public order in the state under a pre-designed and motivated plan.

Meanwhile, Batengoo in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, the native village of Zahid, observed a spontaneous shutdown to protest against the killing.

"Batengoo village, which is on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, has shutdown in protest against the death of Zahid Ahmed," an official at Police Control Room (PCR) Anantnag told PTI over phone.

Clashes broke out in Batengoo and surrounding areas between protesters and police personnel, a police official said.

The protesters pelted stones at security personnel, who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells, he said, adding that there was no report of anyone getting hurt.

"The Highway has been closed," the official said, adding additional police personnel are on stand by.

Omar condoled the death of Zahid and said he had met him yesterday.

Attacking the state and the Cemtral governments, he said they cannot wash their hands off the issue.

"The Hon PM passed the buck on to @yadavakhilesh and the UP Govt for #Dadri. Who will he blame for #Zahid's death now???

"Another needless death in the name of #BeefBan for which the BJP and its affiliates including allies are directly responsible," he said in a series of tweets.

The NC leader hit out at the Mufti Sayeed government saying, "And to think that all the state Govt could do was to throw 10,000 rupees at #Zahid & wash it's hands off the whole thing #BeefMurder."

Zahid's death also drew protest call from separatists, with Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik announcing strike in the Valley tomorrow. 

Malik said the strike was to express solidarity towards Muslims "who are facing the onslaught of right wing Hindu organisations over rumours of beef eating."

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq blamed the government for the death of Zahid.

"The government failed to rein in communal forces who are hell bent upon vitiating the atmosphere in the state," he said.

Zahid, a resident of Anantnag in South Kashmir, was conductor of the truck that was en route to Kashmir when a mob attacked it with petrol bombs on October 9. The driver of the truck Showkat Ahmed is currently being treated at AIIMS in Delhi.

The truck was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu and was stationary near Shiv Nagar area as traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was stopped in view of the strike called by various Hindu outfits following recovery of three carcasses in the district.

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