Villagers Protest Killing Of School Teacher In J-K
19 October 2007
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Hundreds of villagers in north Kashmir's Chowkibal area on Friday demonstrated against the killing of a Government school teacher, who was allegedly shot at point-blank range by the personnel of a road opening party of the Army. The Army, meanwhile, has regretted the killing and has ordered an inquiry. Twenty-eight-year-old Abdul Rashid Mir, a Rehbar-e-Taleem teacher at Marsari Primary School, was intercepted by the troops of 46 AD regiment near his school. Local people alleged the teacher was abused by an officer of the rank of Major and later the jawans accompanying the officer fired several bullets at him. He died on the spot. As the news of the teacher's death reached his village of Rawathpora, hundreds of people assembled at Chowkibal, demanding a judicial probe and arrest of the army personnel. The angry villagers also set fire to an army vehicle. 'It's an unfortunate incident and Army regrets the killing. We have already ordered an inquiry,' Col Manjinder Singh told The Indian Express. Singh, however, said the deceased teacher was asked to stop by the troops near Marsar. 'The road opening party asked the teacher to show his identity and that led to an argument. Later, a weapon of the personnel got accidentally discharged in the scuffle,' he said. Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Asfandyar Khan said: 'I have already taken up the matter with the General Officer Commanding, 28 Division. Any person found guilty will be punished.' Meanwhile, the police have registered a case at Trehgam police station. The local people alleged that the Major, who was heading the party, had developed personnel animosity with the teacher as the latter had objected to the Major's frequent visits to the primary school at Marsar, located at an isolated place amid dense Pine trees. 'This is an innocent killing. Those responsible for his killing should be arrested,' said Abdul Qayoom, a senior member of the North Kashmir Teachers' Forum. 'We are not going to bury the body till the army men responsible for his killing are punished,' he said.