SRINAGAR: At least one person was killed on the spot and several others were injured when security guards of a state government functionary opened direct fire at a crowd which had blocked Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lethpora late Tuesday evening to protest police assault on worshippers at a local mosque.
The bullets hit several youth resulting in on the spot death of one Farooq Ahmad Kuchay. Several others also received bullet injuries and among them one Sohail Ahmad Wani was battling for his life at Medical Institute (SKIMS) Soura when this report was being filed at 11.30 in the night.
Police sources said that Additional District Commissioner Ramban, Babu Ram was on his way to Jammu from Srinagar when his Scorpio vehicle was stopped by protestors on the highway at Lethpora in Pulwama district.
The area was witnessing protests against a raid on a local mosque by police forces.
According to residents forces personnel entered the mosque in civvies when the Maghrib (evening) prayers were on and beat up the worshippers.” “The forces personnel smashed the window panes of the mosque as well before rushing to another Mohalla.”
The residents said that while cops were busy thrashing the residents of Peth Pora locality people started making announcements from mosque loud speakers asking residents to come out on the roads to stop the “atrocities by the forces”.
"Hundreds of locals came out of their homes forcing cops to flee. A large number of residents, including from surrounding localities, later assembled at the highway and blocked it,” the reports said.
It was when the ADC Babu Ram’s vehicle passed by the area. “Sensing trouble, the officer’s two PSOs came down from the vehicle and opened fire killing one person on the spot,” eyewitnesses told Kashmir Observer.
The slain youth was identified as Farooq Ahmad Kuchay, s/o Ghulam Nabi Kuchay.
The firing and resultant death of a protester sparked angry reaction and protesters chased the guards and torched their vehicle. It was not immediately clear what happened to the official and the guards.
One report said CRPF personnel stationed at a nearby camp which is adjacent to a flour mill there came rushing to the spot and used force against protesters and rescued the officer and his guards.
The locals said that the CRPF personnel later blocked the road and did not allow injured to be shifted to Srinagar. The injured were later shifted to Kakpora, Pulwama.
However later the critically wounded Sohail Ahmad Wani was rushed to SKIMS Srinagar in an ambulance where his condition was described by doctors as grim.
The body of Farooq Ahmad meanwhile lay on road till late in the night with enraged protesters demanding the guilty officer and his guards be arrested.
With the latest killing, the death toll in the unrest that broke out on July 9 has shot up to 56.
Meanwhile, one of the three persons injured in Kupwara clashes earlier in the day was also said to be “very critical”.
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