Government orders magisterial inquiry
Shutdown,Protests, Clashes In Handwara
SHABIR IBN YUSUF
Srinagar, July 4: The J&K Government has ordered magisterial inquiry to probe the firing by Army in Zachaldara, Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district which left a 12th standard student injured on Tuesday evening. Police has also registered attempt to murder case against Army’s 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR). The entire Handwara Wednesday observed complete shutdown and witnessed protests and clashes against the incident.
On Tuesday evening a column of 21 RR opened fire on TATA mobile vehicle near receiving station located on Handwara- Zachaldara road. The vehicle was loaded with paddy bags supposed to be taken to a nearby husk mill. The vehicle was driven by Jehangir Gul who was accompanied by his cousin Bilal Ahmad Magray, 22, both residents of Magray Mohalla Zachaldara.
“As the vehicle crossed the receiving station, the RR soldiers opened fire at us. We heard gunshots and tried to flee from the spot,” Jehangir told police. “My cousin (Bilal) told me that a bullet has pierced in his left leg. I drove fast and tried to reach a relative’s house near Turkpora village,” he has said.
However, the army chased the vehicle and caught hold of Bilal and Jehangir outside the residence of their relative in Turkpora. “They ordered us to lay flat on ground and asked to us to show militants. However, I cried as Bilal was bleeding. The residents came out and chanted slogans in the meantime. The sloganeering forced the RR soldiers to leave the place. Bilal was brought to Handwara for first aid after which he was shifted to Bone and Joint Hospital Srinagar,” Jehangir has said.
As the news of the firing incident spread, people took to streets and chanted slogans. They tried to march towards Handwara but were stopped by Army stationed inside higher secondary school Zachaldara.
In the meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (SP) Handwara Muhammad Aslam and Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) reached Zachaldara and pacified people. On the orders of SP Handwara, an attempt to murder (Section 307) case vide number 146 was registered against 21 RR in police station Handwara.
SHUTDOWN, PROTESTS, CLASHES
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of people in Zachaldara took to streets and held strong protests against the firing incident. The protesters were demanding arrest of the soldiers involved in the incident.
The protesters marched towards Handwara. However police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) stopped them from proceeding, leading to clashes. The protestors pelted stones at the cops, who in turn retaliated with teargas shells and lathi-charge. However, no one was injured in the clashes. The protestors shouted that the firing was “unprovoked.”
Meanwhile Handwara town observed complete shutdown in protest against the incident. Shops and other business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. The police and CRPF were deployed heavily in the town to thwart any protest demonstration.
Later Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Sarmad Hafeez, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) north Kashmir and SP Handwara visited Zachaldara and pacified the people.
A report said that Independent Member Legislative Assembly, Er Rashid who visited the area was forced to return. He was reportedly told “not to politicize the issue.”
“I have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the firing incident. Additional Deputy Commissioner Kupwara will conduct the inquiry,” Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Sarmad Hafeez told Greater Kashmir. “There were many more demands of people and we are also looking into them positively. Hopefully they would be solved in a short span of time.”
The Chairman J&K Peoples Conference Sajad Gani Lone has strongly condemned the incident of firing at Zachaldara. “These incidents are becoming a norm and will not cease until the state of impunity enjoyed the security forces is removed,” he said, in a statement.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 5 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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