April 2017 News

60-year-old Man Killed As Forces Open Fire On Protesters

27 April 2017
Greater Kashmir
Altaf Baba

Kupwara: A 60-year-old man was killed and six others injured when Army allegedly opened fire on protesters at Panzgam area in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Thursday, witnesses and police said. Talking to Greater Kashmir, SSP Kupwara Shamsher Hussain Bhat said: 'A man was hit by a bullet during protests. He succumbed to injuries. We are investigating the case.' The deceased was identified as Muhammad Yusuf, 60, son of Khazir Muhammad Bhat of Panzgam, Kupwara. PROTESTS: Witnesses said as soon as the word about killing of two militants in a gunfight with army spread at Panzgam and other adjoining villages on Thursday morning, locals took to the streets demanding bodies of the slain militants. 'As the locals started inching closer to an army camp, they were stopped by the police and the Army. Protesters were urging Police and Army to handover the bodies of two militants for burial, but forces didn't pay any heed to repeated requests,' said Imtiyaz Ahmed, a local. In the meantime, clashes broke out at Kralpora and interior parts of Panzgam. Police fired dozens of tear gas shells to disperse the protestors, who refused to budge and instead hurled bricks and stones at the police, witnesses said. Witnesses said in the afternoon, locals decided to approach the Army to seek the bodies of two militants. 'The locals almost reached close to the Army garrison at Panzgam and raised slogans seeking bodies of militants. Police fired dozens of tear gas shells to push the people back but to no avail,' they said. 'The army resorted to direct firing on the protestors after which a bullet hit a middle-aged man (Muhammad Yusuf) in his stomach. The firing was completely unprovoked,' witnesses said. 'Six persons were also wounded in the Army firing.' Muhammad Asif, a local resident said many people fell down while others started running for cover after army resorted to firing. 'They could have fired in air to disperse the protestors and could have easily avoided the killing,' he said. 'Later police stopped an ambulance coming from Handwara, and asked the driver to take the injured man to Sub District Hospital (SDH) Kralpora. The man was declared brought dead there.' They said as soon as the word about Yusuf's killing spread hundreds of people marched towards Panzgam amid pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans. The protesters pelted stones at the forces personnel who used teargas shells to disperse the protesters. Clashes continued till late in the evening. POLICE REGISTERS FIR: Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Kupwara G M Dar said that Police have registered a FIR into the killing and investigations are underway. 'If need arises, we will also order magisterial inquiry into the incident,' he said. 'DANGEROUS TREND': A senior police officer posted in north Kashmir said it was for the first time that locals openly came forward to demand bodies of 'foreign' militants. 'This is really a cause of concern, rather a big concern,' he said. 'So far the case was the youth were inching closer to encounter sites to help militants flee. Today's incident signifies a dangerous trend.' It is in place to mention here that Police stopped handing over bodies of foreign militants killed in encounters to locals after it saw a huge participation of locals in the funeral of slain Lashkar commander Abu Qasim, on October 25, 2015. Non-local militants are buried in a graveyard at Uri in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. RESTRICTIONS TODAY: The district administration in Kupwara has decided to impose restrictions in Kupwara areas on Friday following the killing of a civilian. 'The restrictions would remain in place in the areas falling police jurisdictions of Kupwara, Karalpora, Trehgam Lalpora and Sogam,' an official spokesman said.