SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered a magisterial probe into the killing of a youth in an alleged fake encounter by army in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir.
The militant claimed to have been killed by army during an operation in Hafruda forest area of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Tuesday turned out to be the civilian.
The deceased was identified as 21-year-old Shahid Bashir Mir of Daril Tarathpora area of Handwara.
He was a 3rd-year student of BSc at Government Degree College Handwara and missing since Monday.
Shahid’s father Bashir Ahmed Mir said his son had left home on Monday at around 5 pm to buy cigarettes from a local shop.
“We started searching for him after he did not return in the evening. After failing to locate him, we lodged a missing report in the local police station,” he said.
Mir, a carpenter by profession, said they received a call informing them that Shahid’s body was lying in Vilgam Army camp.
“Our relatives rushed to the camp where they found him dead,” he said.
Mir said his son was not having any links with militants. “He was a student and you can check his attendance. He had no militant links”.
Thousands of people including men and women participated in his funeral procession in his native village Tarathpora in Handwara today.
The processionists were chanting pro-Azadi, pro-militants, pro-Lashkar, pro-Burhan and pro-Afzal Guru and anti-army and anti-India slogans.
“Shahid was arrested by army on Monday and killed in a fake encounter by pumping several bullets on his body. The army men involved in his brutal killing should be punished,” said a woman relative of the deceased youth.
The processionists demanded that FIR should be lodged against the army men involved in the incident.
After the deceased was laid to rest, youth of the area took to roads and staged protest demonstration. They clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel, who were deployed in strength in the area. The youth pelted stones on the cops, who retaliated by lobbing tear smoke shells and resorting to heavy baton charge.
At least two government vehicles sufferer damages during the stone pelting.
Army on Tuesday had claimed that troops had killed a militant in gunfight during combing operation in at Hongnikote in Hafruda forest area of Handwara following inputs about presence of militants there.
Defence spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said army had launched a specific intelligence based operation in Hafruda forest on night of August 21 and 22.
“The Army column was fired upon by the militants, which was retaliated. During search operations the body of an individual was recovered and handed over to the police,” he said.
Kalia said further investigations are on to ascertain the facts.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, Khalid Jehangir said, “After we came to know that a body was recovered, police started investigation. According to police investigation, the deceased (Shahid) was not involved in subversive or criminal activities”.
He said a material probe into the killing of the youth has been ordered and the investigation would be completed in a week’s time.
“Necessary action would be taken after the inquiry report is received,” he said.