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Mufti asks army to show caution

india Updated: Apr 15, 2015 22:00 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday called the killing of a youth in south Kashmir's Tral area as an "unfortunate incident" and said the army should have been more cautious.

"All I want to say that it's a tricky situation, so while dealing with situation like this, the army should have been more cautious," Mufti said on the sidelines of a function for distribution of flood.

Referring to a case of killing of teenagers in central Kashmir's Budgam district last year, when the army opened fire on their car, Mufti said, "It would be looked into like the earlier Budgam incident where the army admitted to its fault. We will find the facts in this case. Such incidents should not take place."

A court of inquiry had found gross violations of rules of engagement and indicted nine soldiers in the incident.

The chief minister refused to get into the details of the incident but insisted, "such incidents should not take place."

Khalid Wani, brother of local Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, was killed in an encounter between army and militants in Kamla forests on Monday. He had visited his militant brother along with his three friends. While army initially said that Khalid was a militant, they later said that he was an "overground worker'' who was helping militants with recruitment.

The local police also said that Khalid was not "a militant." The killing sparked massive protests in the area.

Hizbul Mujahideen denied Khalid had any links with the organisation. During his funeral procession, his father Muzaffar Wani, a school principal, alleged that Khalid was arrested and "tortured to death."

Meanwhile, protests continued in the area for the third consecutive day. Separatists have also joined the protests and given a call for a "March to Tral" on April 17.

On Tuesday, PDP president and Member of Parliament (MP) Mehbooba Mufti had also issued a statement condemning the incident. Calling the incident tragic, Mehbooba said, "It is very unfortunate that another innocent boy got killed leaving another family in trauma. We condemn such acts and express our heartfelt solidarity with the bereaved family."

She said the killing of innocent civilians only fuels alienation and the security forces must exercise restraint and differentiate between a militant and a commoner, including the family members of the militants, while dealing with such situations.

Meanwhile, the National Conference had attacked the BJP-PDP government on the killing.

NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah questioned the chief minister over the killing.

"Very sorry to hear about the death of Khalid Ahmad in Tral. I trust an impartial probe will be conducted in to the shooting immediately (sic)," Omar tweeted from the US. "Earlier @jkpdp alleged that the incidents between '09-'14 were because the security forces were given a free hand with no accountability which begs the question - what has changed since you took over Mufti Sahib. You owe the people an answer."