16-year-old drowns in Jhelum after alleged chase by CRPF personnel
A 16-year-old boy from Srinagar drowned in the Jhelum river after allegedly being chased by paramilitary personnel on a footbridge in the city on Monday afternoon, his family members claimed.
Osaib Altaf, a resident of the Palpora neighbourhood in Srinagar, was on his way back home from a game of cricket around 1pm on Monday when personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force allegedly chased them, said Suhail Altaf, the victim’s brother.
The alleged incident happened after the administration clamped a shutdown in the city, imposed restrictions on gatherings of four people or more, and snapped all communication lines. No response was available from the state police.
The city of Srinagar has been on a lockdown since the central government moved to effectively revoke Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and divide the state into two Union Territories.
“My brother left home around 11.30 am for the neighbouring playground. He was there till 1 pm and while returning home along with other youth on the footbridge, the CRPF men came on both sides and chased them. All of them jumped into river Jhelum. My brother drowned,’’ said Suhail Altaf.
Altaf’s father, Altaf Ahmad, a taxi driver, said he was not at his home when his son drowned. “I came to know from neighbours that he lost his life. He was fished out after 25 minutes but was dead by that time. My son was good cricket player and he was killed without any fault,’’ he said.
Suhail also alleged that police dispersed his brother’s funeral that was held on Monday evening. “We are passing through one of the worst times. We are losing everything in this fight,” said Altaf Ahmad.
The Union Home Ministry refused to comment or clarify on the incident. The CRPF denied that a boy had died after being chased by policemen. “Policemen drawn from several paramilitary forces are deployed. The CRPF is not responsible for any such incident,” a senior CRPF official said.