Valley Youth Shot, Villagers Protest

Valley Youth Shot, Villagers Protest

10 February 2012
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: Army personnel on Friday allegedly shot dead a 20-year-old youth in a village in north Kashmir’s Rafiabad, triggering massive protests. Even as the Army said that it was looking into the killing, the police registered an FIR against it. Ashiq Hussain Rather was killed in his native village Lasser around 8.30 pm, when soldiers patrolling through the village shot at him, his relatives said. A bullet hit him on the chest and he died at the spot. “There were soldiers in our village. They were frisking the people passing through. And when he (Rather) moved out of his house, they shot him without any provocation,” Rather’s uncle Khursheed Ahmad told The Indian Express. “After killing him (Rather), they didn’t allow us to move closer. When the villagers raised slogans and started protesting, the soldiers ran away from the village.” The Army said it was not in a position to comment over the incident as yet.”We are looking into the incident,” Defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said. “We are checking the facts.” As the news of Rather’s killing spread, the villagers of Lasser and surrounding villages assembled at Rather’s house and took to streets demanding action against the Army personnel allegedly involved in his killing. Till late in the night, the protests were continuing in the village. Top police and administrative officers reached the village to pacify the protesters. The police registered an FIR against the soldiers. Rather’s killing is the first civilian killing by the security forces this year. Chief Minister Abdullah has been calling for revocation of AFSPA from certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir, a demand being opposed by the Army.