SRINAGAR The bullet-riddled body of a civilian was recovered from an orchard near a school in Naira area of Tahab in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, triggering off protests on Thursday.
The slain has been identified as Zahoor Ahmad Sheikh (25) son of Ghulam Ahmad Sheikh and according to his family and locals he was killed allegedly by government forces. Sheikh was the brother of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant and a shopkeeper by profession.
“He was returning from Masjid and called us that army has cordoned off the village. Later some gunshots were heard,” they said, adding today morning his body was recovered.
After body was handed over to the family, people took it and are marching towards Deputy Commissioner’s office Pulwama, four kilometers from the village. However as they reached near Tangpona, the government forces deployed there resorted to teargas shelling following which the protesters returned back. Later thousands of people participated in the funeral of Zahoor.
The protesters are seeking punishment to those who killed Zahoor in what they termed as cold-blooded murder.
SSP Pulwama Chandan Kohli said that a case has been registered and investigations started.
“Police has registered an FIR in this regard and investigations taken up. More details will be shared as they emerge,” SSP said. A police officer said that FIR no (100/2019) has been registered under section 302, 7/27 Indian Arms Act. Despite repeated attempts, army’s spokesman could not be contacted.
Meanwhile, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operational chief for Jammu and Kashmir Reyaz Naikoo Thursday alleged that Zahoor Ahmed, the brother of active Hizb militant Irfan Ahmed, was killed by government forces and not by unidentified gunmen.
In a short video clip, Naikoo said that Zahoor was picked up by the army men of 55 RR posted at Tahab area of Pulwama and later killed mercilessly, according to a local news agency.
The family members of Zahoor had approached police but they were told that case will be investigated. The family also told police that Zahoor was picked up by forces, but this was denied by the police, Naikoo said.
What happened to the investigations of rape and murder of Asiya and Neolofar, what happened to probe into school principal Rizwan Pandits killing, Naikoo said.
He asked why was Zahoor killed. Was he killed just because he was the brother of an active militant? What if tomorrow we will kill brother of a policeman or a soldier? We are being labeled as terrorists when we do some act based on facts and evidence, he said. ( With input from GNS)