February 2001 News

One more protester falls to bullets on the street

16 February 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: The day after five people died in army firing in Hygam, a teenager was killed and three injured when a security force man in plain clothes fired on protesters from his pistol in Srinagar. Suddenly, it seemed the Valley has gone back to the early days of militancy. People had come out in almost every locality of the city to protest against the killing of five villagers by army at Hygam yesterday though the authorities had clamped curfew. At many places, roads were blocked by burning tyres and youngsters threw stones and bricks on police parties. In the Maisuma locality, which is known as 'Gaza Strip' of Kashmir for its pitched ding-dong battles between teenagers and the police, also saw action early in the morning. 'Around a hundred boys from the locality had gathered on the road to protest against the killings in Hygam. The Police and BSF had blocked the road near Akhara building and we wanted to go ahead. This is when we started pelting stones towards the policemen,' said Arshad Ahmad Dar, a protestor, who escaped unhurt. 'I saw a man in plain clothes walking out of a white Gypsy near the BSFbunker at Akhara. He walked towards us and then took out his pistol andopened fire. I jumped on the side while a bullet hit Javeed. I was lyingflat. He fired few more shots and then ran towards the BSF camp in Akharabuilding'. Dar said that he too rushed towards Javeed Ahamd Nath. 'I picked him up but he was unconscious. We took him to the SMHS hospital, where they said he was already dead,' Dar said. Soon after the incident, senior police, BSF and army officers gathered atthe spot. A senior police officer, who sought anonymity because of thearmy-police controversy on yesterday's firing, confirmed that the man who opened fire was an army personnel. 'We have arrested him. He is from the Military Intelligence'. The munshi at the Miasuma police station too said that an armyman has been arrested and a murder case registered against him. 'He has not, however, been lodged in our police station,' he said. The Army, however, denied the arrest. 'As for as I know no armyman hasbeen arrested by the police. We too have heard about the killing in Maisumaand that fire was opened from an unidentified Gypsy,' said Brig. R.K. Chhabra, Brigadier General Staff of the 15 Corps here. He said the army was investigating the firing incident, in which five villagers were killed yesterday at Hygam. Javed Ahmad Nath was just 17. Living in small house deep inside the Maisuma, he had not joined a school but had become a motor mechanic. 'He was the youngest of all. He was always smiling and energetic but now I have buried him under tons of earth,' said Nath's father, Nazir Ahmad Nath. 'The police wanted to take the body but we did not allow them. We took him to the martyr's graveyard instead,' he said. Nath was buried in the 'martyr's graveyard' at Dalgate, which is exclusively for militants killed in action. At the burial, thousands of people had gathered shouting slogans for 'Azaadi' and demanding 'end to the repression'. 'What Indian democracy? How will we be part of it? This boy wielded no gun nor was he a militant. He was a young boy shouting slogans and protesting against innocent killings,' said Nath's cousin, Nisar Ahmad. 'They killed him instead'


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