Union defense ministry on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the killing of a youth by army in North Kashmir even as angry reactions against the killing continued to pour in from mainstream political parties apart from the diatribe by separatist leaders.
"Defense minister AK Antony has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which occurred in Bandipora, in Kashmir Valley," said a statement issued by the ministry in Srinagar. "The defense minister also instructed the army to take strict action against anyone found guilty," it said.
The bullet ridden body of a local young man Hilal Ahmad Dar(20) was recovered from Astengoo-Nar area in Bandipora district, some 55 km from Srinagar on Wednesday morning which triggered massive protests in North Kashmir.
While locals and family of youth blamed army for the 'cold blooded murder' of Dar, army claimed that the youth was 'killed in an encounter'.
Although earlier in the day GOC of army's strategic Chinar Corps, Lt General Om Prakash strictly dismissed any demands of inquiry saying army 'fired on a group of militants'. "For us there is nothing to prove. It is clear. It was a group of militants" Om Prakash told reporters in Srinagar.
Hard-line Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani termed the attitude of army as 'repressive' and called people to protest against the 'innocent killing'.
"They are killing innocents for rewards. People should observe a shutdown against the killing on Saturday," a spokesman of the party said.
While police maintained that it may have been a case of mistaken identity, government ordered a magisterial probe to ascertain the facts.
People's Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti said that probes have 'lost meaning' in Kashmir. "The killing of Dar in peaceful month of Ramadhan, has created an atmosphere of insecurity and people fear to offer Ramdhan prayers in mosques," she said. "(And) seeking inquiries and commissions in such incidents has lost its meaning given the swelling number of such official reports gathering dust in government offices".
Separatist turned mainstream politician Sajad Lone said that the incident was a 'reminder of the State of impunity that exists in J&K and the fact that the government had given a free hand to security forces to kill, harm and harass people'.
On Thursday Bandipora remained restive as shops were shut amid a huge deployment of police and CRPF on roads to restrict people from protesting.
"The situation was tense but it was peaceful," said the district Superintendent of Police Bashir Ahmad Khan. While almost all separatist leaders were placed under house arrest in Srinagar, minister of state for home Nasir Aslam Wani along with newly inducted state police chief visited the family of Dar.