Kashmiri protester throws shoe at top Indian official

A policeman hurled a shoe at a senior Indian politician as a protest against government policy in his region.

The shoe was thrown during a parade to mark Indian Independence Day in Srinagar, and narrowly missed Omar Abdullah, Indian-administered Kashmir's chief minister. Abdul Ahad Jan, who threw the shoe, also waved a black flag – a symbol of the Kashmiri separatist movement – as he was arrested and led away.

Mr Jan had already been suspended from the police force, and was known be "mentally unsound", police said. It is unclear why he was allowed into the parade's VIP enclosure.

The last two months have seen an upsurge in violence in Kashmir, the worst in the region in more than two years. Since early June, 57 people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and police. Although the independence day parade itself was relatively peaceful, four people were killed when the authorities broke up anti-government protests on Friday and Saturday. Mr Abdullah used the day to express regret at the violence, saying that he felt "gloom and bereavement" over the killings.

Mr Abdullah is not the first Indian politician to be the target of footwear. Since George Bush dodged a pair of Iraqi shoes in 2008, shoe-throwing has become an established means of protest in Indian politics.

Last year, a shoe thrown by an engineering student narrowly missed the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, during an election rally in Ahmedabad. Two weeks earlier, India's Home Minister also had a "size eight Reebok" thrown at him by a journalist.

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