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Youth's killing corners Omar's govt

india Updated: Oct 24, 2009 21:21 IST
HT Correspondent

The killing of a 26-year-old student by the army triggered massive protests in Kupwara district on Saturday. The family of the victim accused the soldiers of 32 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) of killing their son in a cold-blooded murder. The accusation was denied by the army.

Ghulam Mohin-ud-Din, father of victim Sajad Ahmad Lone, a resident of village Gainpora, Kralgund, said his son left home in the morning around 8 am. “Around 2 pm we received a call from a local police station. They said that my son’s body is lying with them,” said Mohin-ud-Din.

He claimed Sajad was not remotely involved with any militant group and was a student of Govt Degree College Handwara. “Soldiers killed him because Sajad wear a beard and is Islamic…He was fired from the back side,” said Mohin-ud-Din.

Talking to the Hindustan Times, army spokesman Lt Col JS Brar denied the allegation leveled by the family.

“Today morning, some suspicious movement by an individual was observed near the Watargam army camp. On being challenged by the sentry, he charged at the sentry with an axe and hit him on his head and right shoulder, thereby injuring him seriously. He then jumped inside the camp gate and tried to charge at the other sentries in the camp. In the retaliatory gunfire, he was shot dead inside the camp,” said Brar.

The army suspects the victim was mentally retarded. It has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Police have also lodged an FIR against the soldiers under Section 302 at the Dangiwacha police station. The RR camp is located at Wattergam, 5 km away from the victim’s village.

Earlier, the family of the victim was not ready to take the body from the police station. It was after local MLA Engineer Rashid, an independent, reached the spot and staged a dharna, the police registered an FIR and the family lifted the body from the police station.

The death sparked massive protests in the district. The family decided not to bury the body but rested it on Gainpora road. Till last reports came in, the body was on the road and protesters were demanding a judicial probe. They were also asking for action against the soldiers.

After the Shopian incident -- where a girl and a woman were allegedly raped and murdered by unknown criminals – today’s killing has posed another challenge for Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has promised zero-tolerance to human rights abuses to people.

Incidents during Omar’s rule

December 31: Army men shot dead Abdul Rashid Rishi, a resident of Pahalgam, when they found him trying to enter an army housing area

February 3: Army men shot dead Fayaz Ahmad Mir, a Kupwara tailor, apparently in ‘a crossfire’.

March 2: A JCO and two jawans have been indicted for killing Mohammed Amin Tantray and Javid Ahmed Dar at Bomai

March 18: CRPF men shot dead Ghulam Mohideen Malik, a carpenter.