Thousands Protest Against Young Man's Killing
17 November 2007
Srinagar: Thousands of people took to streets on Saturday in Damhal Hanjipora in South Kashmir in protest against the killing of a youth allegedly by the soldiers of Rashtriya Rifles. According to reports reaching here, Riyaz Ahmad, 22, of Yarikhah village, was found dead in a field after he was stopped by troops of 9 Rashtriya Rifles patrolling in the area. His father Ghulam Nabi said that he, along with his brother and cousin, had left early in the morning with a lantern and was on way to his bakery shop in Damhal. All the three were stopped by the troops but two others were left and Riyaz was held back. 'Later we found that he was killed and his body thrown in a field.' As the news spread, thousands of people took to streets demanding stern action against the troops. They were chanting anti-government slogans and demanding that the soldiers be punished, a police officer said. He said five policemen were hurt when protesters hurled stones and bottles at a police station, while witnesses said the police used baton charges and fired teargas against the demonstrators. The protestors refused to bury the body until the Deputy Commissioner of Kulgam, Latief uz Zaman Deva, and Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, S.P. Pani, reached the spot. They pacified the crowd and assured them of a thorough probe. Mr. Pani told The Hindu that since there were some contradictions in the statements, 'we have constituted a Special Investigation Team headed by Kulgam's Deputy SP.' He said a case had been registered against the troops. 'It could be crossfire but only the investigation will unearth the truth.' A defence spokesman said that Riyaz was killed in a crossfire. He said the militants fired upon the troops and he was killed in cross fire when they retaliated. However, he did not say anything about the fate of militants spotted by the Army.