Vowing justice for the family of Altaf Ahmad Sood, 18, a Class 12 student killed in alleged CISF firing on Monday, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah visited his house on Tuesday.
Abdullah flew from Jammu to Boniyar in Uri near the Line of Control and walked a kilometre to reach out to the family.
Sood was hit by two bullets while passing by a crowd protesting poor power supply near the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) building at Boniyar village in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, about 90 km from Srinagar.
On his return, Abdullah faced angry locals. He told them, “This is no less than a murder. Altaf had a copy in his hand and bullets were fired on his chest. This is intolerable.”
He added, “Government cannot remain immune to such incidents. It is an inexcusable use of force. I will not hesitate to move any court to punish the guilty.” The police have arrested five CISF troopers in connection with Sood’s killing.
Abdullah also assured people they would get their share of electricity. The Boniyar protest was the latest in a series of outbursts triggered by the government’s recent curtailment schedule — no power for three days and three nights in a week — to cope with a supply shortfall. The schedule comes at a time when temperatures have dipped to minus 5°C in several areas.
Abdullah reaching out to Sood’s family and interacting with people to soothe tempers in 2012 winter is a distinctly different response from what was seen in the summer of 2010.
One-and-a-half years ago, Abdullah did not meet the family of 17-year-old Tufail Ahmad Mattoo whose death on June 11 in police action in Srinagar had triggered massive protests across the Valley. In the next four months, at least 120 people died in action by security forces to restore peace.
Abdullah’s proactive response, however, did not impress political rivals.
People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, who also visited Sood’s family, said, “Use of brute force by the government is to muzzle the voice of people who are suffering unprecedented problems as a result of misgovernance.”
Separatists have termed Sood’s killing an act of state terrorism.