One dead in Kashmir riots over Amarnath shrine lands

One is reported killed and over 80 people, including at least 30 police, injured in clashes when protests over the transfer of forest land to the Amarnath shrine trust exploded into street-fighting in Srinagar and Ganderbal district, Kashmir, June 23. Indian police, including elite Central Reserve Police Force officers, fired tear-gas and live ammunition to break up protests by Muslims angry with a government decision to transfer 100 acres to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board to erect temporary structures for thousands of Hindu pilgrims who annually trek to the holy site deep in the Himalayas. Muslim protesters attacked government buildings and a police post, and set vehicles ablaze. A strike to protest the death of a protester in the repression has shut down Srinagar.

An estimated 15,000 Muslims marched June 24 with the body of Feroz Ahmad Rah, who was killed by a police bullet the previous day. The yatra, or pilgrimage, has temporarily suspended, ostensibly because of a glacier cave-in along the route. (Hindustan Times, June 25; Reuters, June 24)

See our last posts on Kashmir, India, and Amarnath cave and the politicization of pilgrimage routes.