Address suspicions about Tanveer’s death


Was Tanveer Ahmad, a youth from Bemina, who died in a firing incident at Udhampur on Monday a militant?  The government’s answer is in the affirmative while his family denies it. The incident had also resulted in the killing of a woman Mamta Devi and injuries to two other people. Police version of the incident says that the Tanveer was travelling in an SRTC bus carrying an AK 47 rifle and a pistol along with ammunition in his baggage. But when the bus was stopped for a routine checking by CRPF and passengers were asked to get off, Tanveer kept sitting inside the vehicle. When he was also asked to come out by the cops, he suddenly opened fire from his pistol injuring three civilians including two women. This forced the CRPF to retaliate and kill him on the spot. 

The story on its face doesn’t inspire much credibility. As the argument has been made by many people on the social media, the government theory hardly stands the test of common sense. Why would a militant with weapons travel in a bus when he knows that he will have to pass through many security checks along the way? Is he thus on a mission to be found out and killed?  If attacking security personnel was his objective, there could have been far better and feasible ways to accomplish that. And also, if he was carrying weapons in his bags, why wasn’t he found out very early on in the journey, say near Banihal tunnel where the passenger luggage is screened. 

The family has refuted the government claims that Tanveer was a militant while admitting that his brother who had been one was killed in 2003. Arshid Sultan, the elder brother said Tanveer was going to Amritsar for medical check-up after he suffered a fracture in his arm during picnic at Harwan.  He said Tanveer had bipolar disorder, a serious psychiatric disease since 1997.  Arshid also said his brother was carrying Rs 60,000 and had also transferred some money into his account for his treatment in Amritsar. One important fact that Arshid cited in support of Tanveer’s innocence was that the police had never raided their house, which they were expected to do if his brother was a militant. 

The effort here is not to privilege one version over another. But to urge the government to tell the truth. It is a question that was also asked by the PDP legislator Noor Muhammad in the Assembly on Tuesday.  Though government has concluded that Tanveer was a militant, it hasn’t explained it. Ghulam Nabi Hanjura, a senior minister, dished out the same police version of the incident. But people need to know more. And it is important that the government, if it has one, provides the information.   For in its absence, the distrust will only deepen and the people will draw their own conclusions. And the one likeliest inference would be that Tanveer was yet another innocent youth who was killed and branded as a militant. And people  will be justified to have this opinion. There have been many such instances in the past whereby the innocent people have lost their lives in ill-advised security actions and later been labelled terorrists. 


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