Violence Breaks Out In Hajin After Renegade Turned Sarpanch Dies

SRINAGAR:  Authorities Thursday imposed restrictions in Hajin township after violence erupted there following the death of former-Ikhwan commander and National Conference (NC) Sarpanch, Abdul Rashid Wagay alias Rashid Kabuli, who was injured yesterday during a scuffle with shopkeepers.

The former counter-insurgent was critically injured on Wednesday after he was assaulted by the shopkeepers in this north Kashmir township.

Sources said as soon as the news of Kabuli’s death spread in the town, his supporters and relatives took to the streets and ransacked the shops and houses of Shakeel Ahmad Khan who owns Khan Gas Agency and Shahid Ahmad, who owns Al-Gani Motors.

“The relatives and supporters of Kabuli barged into the residential houses of Shakeel and Shahid and smashed window panes and glasses. The agitated people also broke shutters of their shops and damaged fridges and other goods,” they said.

Kabuly was critically injured after a scuffle between him and the shopkeepers, who allege that he (Kabuli) tried to force a shopkeeper, whom he owed money,  to hand him a gas cylinder at gunpoint. 

Eyewinesses said that Kabuli was assaulted after he went on the shop of Shakeel Khan. “He went there for a gas cylinder but Shakeel refused to give him as Kabuli owed him some money. Shakeel told him to clear the balance and in the meanwhile they exchanged hot words prompting Sarpanch to brandish his revolver,” they said.

“Following the exchange, the relatives of Shakeel, who also have shops in the same complex, came and assaulted Kabuli resulting in critical injuries to him.” 

Meanwhile, following the ransacking, police reached the spot and resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling to disperse the agitated mob. Additional numbers of government forces personal including paramilitary troops were deployed in the area to maintain law and order, an eyewitness said.

Police said a case has been registered under case FIR number 105/14 under section 302/RPC in this regard and investigation has been taken up. “The four accused persons Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan sons of Mohammad Shafi Khan and Showkat Ahmad Parray, Firdous Ahmad Parray sons of Ghulam Ahmad Parray were arrested,” the police said.

Kabuli was a resident of Kathpora locality in Hajin and was formerly associated with Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoom – a dreaded pro-government militia – headed by Kuka Parray, who was killed by militants in an audacious attack in year 2004 at Hajin – the birthplace of Ikhwan.

However in 2002, Kabuli left Ikhwan and maintained a low profile.  A 

local source said he was associated with Bhartiya Janata Party in year 2008 but left the party later.  In 2011 he joined National Conference and fought elections on its ticket and become a Sarpanch. 

Rashid is married and has two sons and a daughter.

Soon after the eruption of violence, the shopkeepers downed their shutters while traffic came to a standstill. Reports said that miscreants also pelted stones on some vehicles causing damage to the glasses.

Police swung into action and restricted the movement of people. 

A large number of people attended the funeral of Kabuli which was led by the son of Minister and local MLA Muhammad Akbar Lone.

The police, meanwhile, had to resort to aerial firing and teargas shelling again in the evening after a mob tried to torch Shakeel Khan’s house. “But, they were dispersed and the situation was brought under control,” an official said. 

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