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Friday, August 19, 2016

Murder case filed against Army for teacher’s death ‘by torture’

Residents allege 60 more were injured in ‘ruthless beating’; Army orders internal inquiry; Death toll reaches 66 on 41st day of shutdown; Strict enforcement of curfew in Srinagar; CRPF suspends SI for firing on ambulance driver

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Aug 18:  Close on the heels of beating up over 300 people in the Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin’s village of Soibug in Budgam district, Army has allegedly tortured a 30-year-old Higher Secondary school lecturer to death and left 60 more residents injured and fractured in Sharshali village, in Khrew area of Pampore, in Pulwama district even as Police have registered a murder case against unnamed forces personnel and CRPF have placed under suspension a Sub Inspector for shooting on an ambulance driver in this capital city on Thursday.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that late on Wednesday night troops of Rashtriya Rifles 50th battalion, along with a Police contingent, swooped down on Sharshali village, near Khrew, on the outskirts of the summer capital and picked up four ‘wanted’ persons from their respective residences. The residents gathered in large numbers and clashed with the troops in an attempt to get the detainees released. However, the troops whisked away all the four young men to their camp and allegedly subjected them to severe physical torture.

On the other hand, troops damaged and ransacked scores of residential houses. They subjected the residents to severe beating. While as the residents claimed that 60 of them sustained injuries, bruises and fractures, officials insisted that around 40 persons sustained superficial injuries. However, Police officials on record maintained that 16 persons were injured.

Of the four detainees, a 30-year-old contractual Higher Secondary school lecturer Shabir Ahmad Mangu succumbed to the physical torture. His body was handed over to the family in the wee hours on Thursday. Two more in critical condition were rushed to Srinagar and admitted to SMHS Hospital.

In the wake of massive outcry, Police Station Pampore in the afternoon registered case FIR No: 156/2016 under sections 302, 307, 427 and 120-B RPC against unnamed officials of RR 50 Bn. General Officer Commanding 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua, regretted the teacher’s death and told mediapersons at the sidelines of a passing-out parade that Army would ordered an internal enquiry. He said that the civilian’s death was “regretable”.

“It was a joint patrol. One death has happened and I am aware of it,” Lt Gen Dua said at the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regimental Centre at Rangreth. “We have a due process of investigation and we will investigate into the incident”, he said.

Army's Public Relation Officers at headquarters of 15 Corps in Srinagar or the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur did not issue any statement on the allegations of the teacher's "cold blooded custodial killing".

With the young teacher’s torture killing, death toll in the 41-day-long turbulence, triggered by militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, has reached 66, including three Policemen.

While as curfew continued on the 41st consecutive day in Srinagar, Pampore and Anantnag, officials said that restrictions under section 144 CrPC were enforced in rest of the valley. Complete shutdown was observed on the call of three separatist leaders  - Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik - who have sponsored the strike over Burhan Wani’s death. Incessant shutdown, coupled with curfew, has paralysed life across Kashmir.

With the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra, authorities have decided to strictly enforce curfew for day and night, particularly in the summer capital. A fresh elite deployment of CRPF took over in Srinagar and some other district headquarters. Officials said that only the ambulances carrying patients were being allowed to operate.

A number of journalists were stopped in the evening, allegedly abused at several barriers and pushed back. They were told that no movement would be permitted, even of the people holding curfew passes.

At around 8.00 p.m, men from a CRPF naka at Safakadal fired from a pump action gun on the driver of a speeding ambulance, Ghulam Mohammad Sofi, who was driving to SMHS Hospital from Sub District Hospital of Kangan. CRPF said that the driver did not stop when he was signalled at a barrier. One of the soldiers fired on the ambulance. Sofi drove straight to SMHS Hospital where doctors with the help of X-Ray detected pellets in his arm. Initial reports had said that he sustained gunshot injuries.

Sources said that Sofi was referred to Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla for orthopaedic examination. They said that pending inquiry CRPF had immediately placed a Sub Inspector under suspension.

According to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir, a clash took place between army and some locals of village Sharshali, Khrew, resulting in the death of Shabir Ahmed Mongu and injuries to four others. It said that police had taken cognizance and started investigation.

It said restrictions under section 144/CrPC remained in force in Kashmir. Curfew was imposed in Srinagar, Anantnag town, and Pampore. “Stone pelting incidents were reported from Papchan area of Bandipora, Batergam of Kupwara and Ilyalpora of Shopian where youths assembled on roads and pelted stones on deployments”.

PDP MLA’s house attacked

The Police statement said that a violent mob assembled and attacked the house of PDP’s Shopian MLA [advocate Mohammad Yousuf] at Memendar, Shopian, on Wednesday night. The mob set ablaze the belongings, including a motorcycle, of the guard personnel posted for protection of the MLA’s house. “The guard personnel exercised maximum restraint”, it said. After Education Minister Naeem Akhtar and MLAs Abdul Rahim Rather and Mohammad Khaleel Bandh, Mr Yousuf is the fourth PDP leader who has been targeted by a crowd in the last six weeks.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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