Protests In Bandipora After Youth Killed, Allegedly In An Army Operation

Protests In Bandipora After Youth Killed, Allegedly In An Army Operation

25 July 2012
Tehelka
Riyaz Wani

Srinagar: Protests rocked North Kashmir town of Bandipora after a 25-year-old man was killed, allegedly in an overnight operation by Army in Aloosa village. Four protesters and a police officer were injured in the clash. The youth was identified as Hilal Ahmad Dar of Aloosa, the son of a mason. This is the second such incident in the area in the past week. Earlier, a shepherd was fired at and was critically injured. Army says Dar was killed in an encounter with the militants on Tuesday night. “At about 11.45 pm, the ambush party noticed suspicious movement. On being challenged, the ambush party of 27 Rashtriya Rifles was fired upon and a brief firefight ensued. Later during the search at the site, one body and an AK-47 along with ammunition was recovered. The body was later identified as Hilal Ahmad Dar of Aloosa village,” the statement reads. However, police say the youth had no previous militant record and explains the killing as a case of mistaken identity. Incidentally, the killing took place at a time when Army was marking the anniversary of the victory in 1999 Kargil war. Soon after the news of death spread, the people in the town came out in droves to protest. They kept the Dar’s body in the middle of the road and demanded action against the Army personnel involved in the incident. The protests increased in intensity with more people joining it later in the day. People chanted pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans. This police had to use force to control the mob. People in the village say Dar was picked up by Army when he was on his way to mosque to attend Taraweeh (Ramzan prayers offered after breaking the fast at sunset). “Dar was innocent. It is a case of fake encounter. He was taken by Army on his way to the mosque and killed in cold blood,” said Muhammad Rafeeq, a protester. Dar, locals say, belonged to Tablighi Jamaat, a religious outfit dedicated to propagation of Islam and had a long flowing beard. Separatists have condemned the killing and called for an impartial inquiry into the incident. “As we have often highlighted, the killing of Dar forms a part of the planned genocide in Kashmir,” a statement issued by Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said. “We also urge the international community to take note of the killing and put pressure onIndia to stop human rights violations in Kashmir”.