Handwara, a hamlet in north Kashmir with a history of violent politics, erupted on Saturday over the death of a 21-year-old who reportedly walked into an army ambush on Friday night and was shot after being mistaken for a militant.
The family of the youth, Manzoor Ahmad Magray, alleged that he was killed in cold blood near Chogal Handwara, about 95 km north of Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also termed the killing “another needless death in a bloody Kashmir”.
Manzoor’s father Ghulam Ahmad Magray, an activist of the ruling National Conference, said, “The army came to my house last night and arrested my son who was sleeping in his room. He was taken to a nearby bridge and shot dead. His body was left behind by the army before fleeing from the village.”
While the army, in a statement, regretted Manzoor’s death, the police registered a case of murder against the army and the state administration ordered a magisterial probe into the killing.
Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said Manzoor’s killing was the “worst form of state terrorism”, claiming Abdullah’s “puppet government” had no authority before the security agencies in Kashmir.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti also attacked the chief minister over Manzoor’s death and said the coalition regime had failed to control killing of innocent civilians by security forces.
Sources said Abdullah had left for Handwara, as the protests broke the spell of peace in the Valley that had limped back to normal after four months of unrest last summer, following the death of Tufail Ahmad Mattoo, 17, who was allegedly hit on the head by a police tear-smoke shell.