February 2001 News

'The troops went berserk without provocation,' says Sopore cop's FIR

17 February 2001
The Indian Express

SOPORE: The case of the Army's alleged unprovoked firing on villagers at Hygam in Kashmir on Thursday has taken a curious turn. The complainant in the FIR lodged against the Army is the Station House Officer of the police station at Sopore. Police officer Khursheed Ahmad Khan survived the Army's firing on a protest rally on Thursday, in which five villagers, including two women, died. The FIR, number 44-2001 Section 302 RPC, has been lodged against the armymen, including their officer. The report states that 'the armymen led by an officer of the 29 Rashtriya Rifles went berserk though there was no provocation from the protesting villagers, who had blocked the national highway at Hygam.' Khan hasn't mentioned the officer's name in the FIR. But he claimed that 'he can identify the Army officer who resorted to firing on the mob and also ordered his men to fire'. The villagers were protesting against the death of Jaleel Ahmad Shah, who they allege, was killed in custody by SOG Budgam and the security forces. Khan says in his FIR that he was persuading demonstrators to allow the Rashtriya Rifles convoy that had come to regulate the protests to smoothly pass. Khan says he requested the Army officer to wait for a few minutes, 'but the officer did not listen to anything.' Khan says the Army officer trained his gun at him. But a resident of Budgam, Safdar Ali Dar, who was part of the procession, pushed him aside and took the bullets instead, said Khan. 'The bullets sprayed by the officer pierced the body of Dar, resulting in his death on the spot,' the FIR says. 'Some other persons, including two women, were killed and several others were injured after the troops resorted to indiscriminate firing.' Several persons were also beaten up. A 13-year-old boy, Nayeem Ahmad Yatoo, received head injuries when he was hit with rifle butts. Yatoo has been admitted to SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. The police have asked the Additional SP, Sopore, Showkat Malik, to investigate the case. The government have also ordered a judicial probe headed by a high court judge into the incident. The probe report will be presented in the assembly within 15 days.


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