Ehsaas faces Haqeeqat: 4 killed in Shopian
CRPF fire on youth riding bikes;Killings were unprovoked: Witnesses
SHOWKAT DAR/ KHALID GUL
Shopian, Sep 7: Four youth were killed and one injured critically when paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) fired on six youth riding two bikes in Gagran Shopian in south Kashmir on Saturday.
The incident took place hours before the controversial Zubin Mehta concert in famed Shalimar Garden of Srinagar. Though the CRPF claimed that the slain were militants but the locals say that all killed youth were civilians killed in unprovoked firing. The incident triggered massive protests and clashes in the entire district.
“The youth were riding on two motor bikes near the camp when CRPF persons intercepted them and fired indiscriminately on them,” locals said.
Three dead bodies, reports said, have been kept in District police lines Shopian.
Two of the dead were identified as Tawseef Ahmad Bhat, 18, son of Gulam Muhammad Bhat, resident of Baba Mohallah Shopian, and Muhammad Yousuf of Durpora, Zainpora (a labourer), where as the injured is Aadil Ahmad Wachkoo son of Muhammad Ayub Wachkoo, resident of Bona Bazaar Shopian.
Adil Ahmad Wachkoo who is undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital said that CRPF men fired on them without any provocation.
“I was on the way to appear in Islamic Studies paper of BA 1st year examination at Degree College Shopian along with my friend Tawseef when CRPF men intercepted us and sought the I-Card from us. When we pulled out the I-Card, the CRPF fired on us,” said Adil.
CRPF, however, maintained that four persons were killed, one wounded and another fled from the firing spot when they fired upon the CRPF personnel guarding the Gagran camp.
“Six youth were riding on two bikes and were signaled for security check.
One of them refused to show his I-card and abused the sentry and then pulled out his pistol and opened fire. He fired two rounds from close range which missed the target after which his pistol got locked. Our men fired in retaliation killing three of them on spot and injuring two. The sixth person managed to flee from the spot,” CRPF spokesperson Kishor Khushal said.
He said that they have also recovered one pistol and two grenades from their possession.
Asked if all the pillion riders riding on two bikes were militants, Khushal said that they are not sure about it. “What I know is that we fired in self defense otherwise they would have killed our men,” he said.
The killings triggered massive protests in Shopian town and adjoining villages. Hundreds of people came out on streets amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. "Public address systems of mosques were used and people were asked to come out on roads," locals said.
Clashes between the locals and the police were reported from many areas of the Shopian town and adjoining area of Gagran, Meemandar, Nagbal and Zainapora.
“Police used tear smoke shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protestors,” reports said. Dozens were injured in the clashes which were going on till last reports came in.
Reports said that other three bodies were taken to the police lines.
“The forces did not allow any body to the police lines so that the three persons could be identified,” local residents said.
After the incident, DIG south Kashmir reached the police lines, however no media man or civilian was allowed to enter.
“The slain youth are all civilians. If they are militants then why police is not revealing their identity and handing over their bodies to us,” one of the protestors told CNS.
Director General of Police Ashok Prasad said that they were ascertaining the facts. “People have started stone pelting in the area and are not allowing police to ascertaining the facts. The information we have got is that some unidentified militants fired upon CRPF personnel and in retaliation two militants were killed. CRPF has also recovered one pistol and 2 grenades from the deceased militants,” Prasad said.
CRPF PRO told CNS that six youth appeared on motor cycles and fired upon the personnel of Quick Action Team who reacted immediately and killed three militants on spot. “We have recovered some arms and ammunition from them. We killed militants and not civilians,” he said but refused to reveal their identity. “You can ascertain their identity from the local police,” Prasad said.
The father of the one youth killed in CRPF firing identified as Tawseef Ahmed Bhat said that his son was running a shop in upper bazaar of Shopian and he was not a militant. “Police had arrested my son for his alleged role in stone pelting but he was released some six months ago. He was innocent and had nothing to do with militancy,” he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of CRPF and police personnel were deployed in Shopian and strict curfew was imposed in the town. Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Bashir Ahmed Bhat told CNS that they are waiting for the police confirmation and if need arises, a committee would be constituted to probe the incident.
CRPF FIRING WAS UNPROVOKED, SAYS SURVIVOR:
The survivor in Shopian firing said the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force men opened fire without any provocation.
Muhammad Adil Wachkoo who was injured in the incident and whose friend Tawseef was killed—said there was a shutdown in Shopian. “There was no transport plying in the area. My childhood friend (Tawseef) promised to drop me at Degree College Shopian,” Adil, who is admitted at the Emergency Ward of SMHS hospital here told Greater Kashmir.
“We reached outside Gagran CRPF camp. We were stopped by the forces. When we stopped the bike, they asked us for documents. We told them it is getting late as we have to appear in exams. First they hurled abuses at us and then beat us. Later they resorted to indiscriminate firing,” Adil said, adding Tawseef was bleeding profusely and CRPF men did not allow anybody to shift the injured to hospital.
He said they were crying for help. “After one hour Station House Officer arrived and shifted us from the spot. I saw some other persons lying in the pool of blood. They too were crying for help but CRPF did not listen to anyone,” Adil said adding that large number of people arrived on the spot but CRPF did not allow them to come close to the camp.
Tawseef, according to Adil, was driving the bike while “I received several superficial bullet injuries in my abdomen.” “We had to appear in first year bi-annual examination scheduled today,” Adil said.
Adil said he is not aware about three other youth who have died. “I do not know anything about them. I only remember that CRPF men abused us and resorted to unprovoked firing,” he said. “They killed my childhood friend. I did not see anybody opening fire on CRPF.”
Scores of people including the family members are accompanying Adil at the hospital.
They termed the incident as a “revenge attack” by CRPF. “Since the killing of CRPF personnel in an attack by the militants in the area, the forces have unleashed a reign of terror there,” local residents alleged.
A police spokesman said in the evening: “A CRPF checking party was fired upon by anti-national elements in Gagran, Shopian this afternoon. The CRPF party retaliated and in the ensuing firefight, two anti-national elements got killed. One pistol and two grenades were recovered from their possession. In this incident three more persons identified as Towseef Ahmed Bhat son of Gul Muhammad resident of Baba Mohalla Shopian, Aadil Rehman Wachkoo son of Abdul Rehman resident of Shopian and Muhammad Yousuf of Durpora, Zainpora were injured. While Muhammad Yousuf died on the place of incident, Towseef Ahmad Bhat died on way to hospital, Aadil Ahmad Wachkoo has been admitted in SMHS, Srinagar and is stable. The identity of the anti-national elements is being ascertained. The phone which was recovered from the unidentified anti-national elements has been used by militants of Lashker.” (with inputs from CNS)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST
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