Defence ministry probe into Kashmir youth's killing fails to calm tempers
Despite the probe ordered by Union defence minister AK Antony into the killing of Bandipora youth in army firing, anger failed to die down in north Kashmir on Friday.india Updated: Jul 27, 2012 19:18 IST
Despite the probe ordered by Union defence minister AK Antony into the killing of Bandipora youth in army firing, anger failed to die down in north Kashmir on Friday.
Amid shutdown, thousands of people took to streets in northern district of Bandipora after Friday prayers led to clashes among stone-pelting youth and gun-trotting police and CRPF men.
The protests erupted after the bullet-ridden body of a local youth Hilal Ahmad Dar (20) was found on Wednesday morning in Ashtengoo-Nar area of Bandipora district, amid claims of army that he was killed in an 'encounter with militants'. Locals and family refused to buy the statement of army saying Dar was killed in 'cold blood by army soldiers'.
"We were on a peaceful protest march when CRPF fired tear gas shells on us. They broke window panes of houses and beat-up whosoever came in their way. We also retaliated with stones," said a local youth and neighbour of Dar.
"They even resorted to aerial firing," the youth said.
However, police dismissed claims of firing in the area. "After Friday prayers, people went to the graveyard of the youth. While coming back some dispersed peacefully and some resorted to stone pelting," said the district Superintendent of Police, Bashir Ahmad Khan.
In capital Srinagar, police restricted almost all the separatist leadership to their houses including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Ahmad Shah.
The authorities want to take no chances amid fears that the leaders' visit to the house of the slain youth 'could further escalate protests.'
Geelani had asked people to protest after Friday prayers besides calling for a strike against the killing on Saturday.
In the centre of Srinagar, Police used force to stop a protest march called by Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Yasin Malik to United Nations Military Observers Group stationed in Srinagar.
Malik along with dozens of his activists was taken into custody by police a few meters away from his Maisuma residence.
Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid also led a protest in his constituency of Handwara in north Kashmir against the 'killing of innocent youth'.
On Thursday the issue took a twist, when union defence minister AK Antony called for a probe into the incident hours after the army had ruled out any inquiry saying that the youth was killed when he walked into an ambush and "fired at them when challenged".
While police maintain the killing was a case of mistaken identity, the authorities are also probing into the incident to verify all the claims.
However locals accused that Dar was killed "for rewards" as he sported long locks of hair and a beard and could have easily been "mistaken for a militant".
First Published: Jul 27, 2012 19:16 IST