The 16-year-old boy who was found unconscious in a drain near his home in Kashmir’s summer capital eight days ago died at a hospital here on Saturday.
Qaisar Sofi, a resident of Srinagar’s Shalimar area, had gone missing from near his home on October 27 and was found in a drain in the area the next day. He was admitted in Kashmir’s tertiary care hospital, Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.
“The boy has succumbed (to his injuries). He had a history of assault, affecting his brain and kidneys; we were treating that,” said medical superintendent of SKIMS, Dr SA Tabish.
“When brought to hospital, the attendants said he has been poisoned so we washed his stomach and sent the samples to forensic laboratory for examination. The report is still awaited,” he added.
Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq accused the security forces for the incident.
“QaiserSofi, a 16-year-old student of Mirak Shah School, was beaten, tortured and forcibly fed a germicide called ‘Neva’ by armed forces battling for his life at SKIMS, Soura where he is on a ventilator. Such cruelty and barbarity find few parallels in today’s age,” Mirwaiz had tweeted before the boy’s death.
Sofi’s family members also believe he was assaulted and poisoned.
“He went missing on Thursday when he had stepped out to see a Muharram procession. After extensive search, we found him in a drain on Friday. There are torture marks on his chest,” his mother, Mehmooda Begum, was quoted as saying by in a news report on October 31.
“We demand an impartial probe into the incident and the arrest of the accused at the earliest,” Mehmooda added.
Police, however, deny there were any signs of assault and suspect the victim might have consumed poison himself. “When we found him, there was a scratch on his arm. He had consumed poison,” said station house officer Anzar Khan. “The family has shifted to the area recently. So neighbours don’t have much information. The family also was not in a position to be questioned. The boy does not have too many friends in the area.”