Senior minister attacked as Lashkar supports Kashmir unrest

By Sarwar Kashani

Srinagar: A senior Jammu and Kashmir cabinet minister narrowly escaped on Saturday when his cavalcade was attacked with stones as more violence erupted in the valley, coinciding with the globally banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit throwing its weight behind secessionist leaders and asking people to follow their shutdown programme in “letter and spirit”.

Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, also the government spokesperson, was attacked in a north Kashmir village when he was returning from Bandipore district to assess the law and order situation and taking stock of hospital management, official sources said.

Restrictions Lal Chowk (5)

Protesters hurled stones at Akhtar’s cavalcade as they had blocked the road with tree trunks and large stones to enforce the separatist shutdown. The sources said that emergency police reinforcements were rushed to rescue the minister from the protesters. None was hurt in the incident.

But at least a dozen civilians were injured in other violent protests across the Kashmir Valley where life remained at a standstill for the 22nd day of curfew and separatist-called shutdown.

“Army troops challenged a group of intruding terrorists earlier in the day (on Saturday). The heavily armed terrorists opened fire at the soldiers,” the source said.

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