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JEHANGIR ALI | 20 NOVEMBER, 2015

'Move The CRPF Camp, Will Drop Case' Says Father Of Slain Kashmiri Youth

Archives picture: CRPF soldiers under fire in Kashmir


SRINAGAR: Amid growing resentment in Kashmir Valley, the father of an engineering student who was killed on the outskirts of Srinagar city on November 7, allegedly by CRPF, offered Friday not to pursue the case against the forces if the "killer camp" is removed from the area.

"Let the government order removal of the camp from the factory," Nazir Ahmad Dar, Gowhar's father told The Citizen, "I will not pursue the case against the culprits. This way, at least Gowhar's martyrdom will bear some fruit and no innocent will become target of these murderers".

On November 7, Gowhar was hit in the head by "shell/bullet", according to a death certificate produced by doctors at SKIMS where he was declared brought dead on arrival, sparking protests across the Valley in which dozens of youths were injured.

Gowhar’s family has blamed the personnel from 44 Battalion CRPF, housed in Hindustan Machine Tools factory in Srinagar's Zainakote locality, for the killing.

The incident took place on the day when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered Rs 80,000 crore financial package for the state. According to police investigations, there was no deployment of forces in the area when the victim, who had reportedly tried to rescue a mentally-challenged boy from the clutches of the CRPF personnel, was killed.

The demand of removing the camp from the HMT factory is getting shriller with the local lawmaker from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also writing a letter to the Home Department, headed by J&K Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, seeking withdrawal of the CRPF troops from the factory.

“I have already shot a letter to the home department on the demand on locals who want the CRPF battalion, which shifted to the factory after last year's flood, to be removed from the factory,” PDP MLA from Srinagar's Batamaloo, Sheikh Noor Muhammad, said.

Gowhar's father said there is an Army camp adjoining the CRPF unit in Zainakote, "We never had any kind of problem with the Army men. These CRPF personnel have been terrorising youths in our area on flimsy pretexts," he said.

Earlier, the opposition National Conference as well as the PDP's Member of Parliament from Srinagar, Lok Sabha constituency, Tariq Hamid Karra, have also demanded removal of the camp from the area as well as stringent action against the culprits.

The J&K Police as well as the State Government are conducting separate inquiries into the incident that led to the killing of Gowhar with the CRPF alleging that the slain may have died due to "stone pelting" in the area at the time of the incident, a claim denied by witnesses as well as Gowhar's family.

Earlier, independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid, visited the slain youth’s home and asked the state government to remove the HMT factory which was set up in 1971 and subsequently became defunct, partially due to eruption of conflict in Kashmir.

The Centre has asked the state government to take possession of the HMT factory along with 300 kanals of land. The J&K's Industries and Commerce Department is proposing to industrialise the place along with the built-up area around the factory.

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