Kashmir Tense After Killing of 16-Year Old; 2 Cops Arrested


SRINAGAR – A teenager was shot dead by security forces in the Kashmir Valley today during a strike called by hardline Hurriyat Conference against the recent killing of two youths in an army operation in Tral, prompting the authorities to register a murder case and order a magisterial probe, reports PTI.

Two policemen have been arrested in connection with the incident, sources said.

As violence erupted in several parts of the Valley, fueling tensions further, state police personnel opened fire to disperse protesters at Narbal in Budgam, wounding three, including a 16-year-old boy.

The injured were rushed to a hospital here where Suhail Ahmed Sofi died.

Earlier reports had said the boy was killed in firing by the CRPF.

“Additional Deputy Commissioner has been asked to probe the incident that led to the death of the boy. He has been asked to submit a report within 15 days,” District Magistrate Budgam Mir Altaf Ahmad told PTI.

A controversy erupted over the killing of the boy with the police admitting that their personnel had prima facie not followed the standard operating procedure at the time of the incident. Exactly how they violated the SoP was not yet known.

“The preliminary inquiry into the incident indicated that the forces have acted in violation of the laid down Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” a police spokesman said.

He said a case under Sections 302 (Murder), 147, 149, 341 and 427 RPC has been registered at Magam police station.

“We regret the unfortunate incident and extend our sympathies to the bereaved family,” the spokesman said.

The family of the deceased claimed he was detained before being shot.

“Suhail was first detained and asked questions before he was shot dead,” Tariq Ahmad Sofi, uncle of the deceased, told reporters at their family residence.

Sofi, quoting eyewitnesses, alleged “Forces took my nephew aside and then shot him point-blank.”

The death of the teenager sparked more violence in the area with stone-pelting protesters setting ablaze an abandoned police picket and a tourism hut at Narbal.

Reports of protests were also received from Pattan in Baramulla district and Kupwara town in north Kashmir.

Several separatist leaders including Chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have been put under house arrest as a “preventive” measure. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is already under house arrest since Thursday night.

JKLF chairman Yaseen Malik and social activist Swami Agnivesh were today briefly detained when they tried to lead a march to Narbal.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz faction of the Hurriyat has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission requesting it to take cognizance of the incident and conduct parallel proceedings.

“The investigation into the matter is going on by the police but, under the law, the petitioner is not barred from filing the instant petition or complaint and there is the set procedure that parallel proceedings can be initiated simultaneously on the basis of complaint of facts and police investigation,” a Hurriyat spokesman said.

Mirwaiz himself also condemned the killing, saying “black laws like AFSPA have given licence to Indian forces to kill unarmed Kashmiris.”

“Despite repeated pleas for its revocation by the Kashmiri people, the centre and so-called state government is not ready to repeal it,” he said.

Ruling PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the killing of the teenager and voiced concern over the police not adhering to the SoP.

“Now that FIR has been lodged in the tragic incident, I am sure investigation would be taken to the logical conclusion and action would be taken against the personnel involved in the incident,” Mehbooba said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Geelani, who is under house arrest, said he would lead an hour-long sit-in at Partap Park tomorrow against the Narbal killing.

“The killing of a third student at Narbal in Budgam district is the worst example of state terrorism. I along with other pro-freedom leaders will stage an hour-long protest sit-in against the incident at Partap Park (in Lal Chowk) at 2 pm tomorrow,” Geelani said in a statement.

He also called for a shut down in entire Budgam district against the killing tomorrow.–PTI



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