As another family in Kashmir lost their young son and plunged into mourning in the revered month of Ramzan, the joint forces in Kashmir termed it as a ‘Naka-violation’ killing in their statements. However, the policeman accompanying the boy tells an entirely different story.
BEERWAH, Budgam — The uncle of slain youth killed by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the Kawoosa area of Budgam in Kashmir on Wednesday contested police and paramilitary claim that his nephew fled two checkpoints when fired upon.
Ghulam Hassan Shah, Assistant Sub-Inspector in Jammu and Kashmir Police, was travelling along with the slain youth identified as Me’rajudin Shah, when their car was attacked.
“This is a cold-blooded murder,” Shah told Kashmir Observer.
“Mehraj was fired from point-blank range,” he added. “Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF jointly killed my nephew out of sheer frustration.”
On Wednesday morning, Shah, a resident of Beerwa Budgam, asked Me’raj to drop him at Srinagar’s Police Control Room (PCR), where he is currently posted and was waiting for his dead nephew’s body when this story was written.
“On reaching near a Naka at Kawoosa village,” Shah said, “I showed my identity card to a J&K Police Hawaldar and insisted that I should be allowed to move. Telling us to go, the policeman signalled at CRPF jawan who immediately opened fire on us. The bullet pierced the chest of my nephew and within no time he lost a lot of blood.”
However, Budgam Police in its statement said the slain civilian travelling in a vehicle jumped from two Naka points in Kawoosa, Narbal after which CRPF men fired at him.
“A convoy of army at that point in time was passing through the adjacent road and fearing a sabotage, the CRPF jawan of C/141, manning this Naka, fired warning shots,” Pankaj Singh, Srinagar-based CRPF spokesman, told Kashmir Observer.
“This civil car was driving in the wrong direction of the road and that was even more alarming. When the car didn’t stop, despite warning shots, the jawan fired at the car and in turn, the driver was hit on his left shoulder.”
Many CRPF men, Singh said, were killed at Nakas, including in Pulwama last year. “People have to understand and cooperate with us,” he said.
But the cop uncle of the slain youth rubbishes these claims.
“This is a blatant lie,” Shah said. “They want to cover-up the crime. I am myself a police officer. Why won’t I stop my car? Truth is, we stopped our car and then the jawan fired upon us. Had we fled from the spot, our car would have been damaged after they fired upon us.”
The youth was shifted to Srinagar’s SHMS in a critical condition, where Dr Nazir Choudhary, medical superintendent of the hospital, declared him brought dead.
Me’raj was a class 12th dropout and was running a Khidmat centre at his village. He is survived by 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He was just 15, when his mother died.
“Even if he had fled from the Naka,” Owais Ahamd Shah, Me’raj’s cousin, told Kashmir Observer, “the forces could’ve fire warning shots in air or fired at his tyres. Was killing the only option?”
Political Parties Condemn Killing, Demand Probe
Political parties in Kashmir on Wednesday condemned the killing and called for an impartial enquiry to punish the guilty.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), in a statement, strongly condemned the killing of Mehrajuddin.
“The firing should have been avoided. The loss of innocent lives has the potential to lead to further alienation of the people,” the JKPCC said.
The party demanded a probe into the circumstances, which led to the killing of the civilian in order to fix the responsibility.
While reacting to the incident, the PDP called for an inquiry.
“Shooting a civilian dead cannot be how a democracy operates. Eagerness of few trigger happy individuals to replicate Delhi Police model of destruction & violence in Budgam is detestable. An enquiry should be initiated & guilty taken to task,” the party tweeted.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the incident as unfortunate.
“Very unfortunate. The circumstances surrounding this shooting need to be impartially investigated & findings made known. My condolences to the family of the deceased,” he tweeted.
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