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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Killing of youth by troops in Lolab triggers massive protests

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SRINAGAR: Massive demonstrations erupted in Lolab, Kupwara after the Indian army shot dead a young villager. Thousands of people surged into the streets today as the victim’s body was returned from hospital this morning, forcing the police to file an FIR against the army, and the district administration to announce ex gratia relief to the next of kin.

The victim 28-year-old Fayyaz Ahmad Mir, was reportedly shot at around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday when he was easing himself in the compound outside the house in the Khirhama Zab area of Lolab. Mir was reportedly taken for a militant by a passing army patrol which opened fire on the villager, leaving him gravely wounded.

Mir’s family said that he had ventured out to answer the call of nature and shortly afterwards they heared the sound of gunfire. When he failed to return, his family came out in search, but was shocked to find Mir writhing in a pool of blood a short distance away.

As the family screamed for help, a large number of their neighbours assembled at the spot and rushed the injured Mir to the sub-district hospital. Doctors there advised shifting the victim to the SKIMS because of his critical condition, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way.

This morning as the victim’s body arrived in his native area, thousands of lamenting people surged into the streets, and took out a procession staging a sit-in on the Khirhama-Lolab road. The demonstrators demanded a high level inquiry into the incident, and accused the army of having shot dead an innocent villager.

The protestors kept up their demonstrations for several hours, chanting slogans against the army and the administration, and holding up traffic on the key route. The senior superintendent of the police (SSP) for Kupwara and other police officers arrived on the scene, and assured the protestors of an investigation, besides getting an FIR under section 307 filed against the army in the Kupwara police station.

Talking to reporters, the deputy commissioner of Kupwara, Muhammad Abbas, said that according to information available to him, the victim had been outdoors in the dark, and the army opened fire on him after finding him in suspicious circumstances.

He said that complete details of the incident were still awaited, but a team of officers had been dispatched to the area immediately after receiving information, and ex gratia relief of Rs 1 lakh had been ordered for the next of kin.

He said that the revenue department had been instructed to prepare a case for providing a government job to one member of the victim’s family. According to the deputy commissioner, the victim had left four children behind him, two of whom were enrolled in school. The district’s social welfare department had been instructed to arrange for the upkeep of the children,’ he said

The officer said that no inquiry had been ordered so far as the report of the SSP was awaited, and further action would be taken only after the police account was available.-SANA

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