Killing in "Cold Blood", Amidst Protests in Kashmir Opposition Demands Probe
SRINAGAR: A civilian was shot dead, allegedly by the Army, on Friday night in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, prompting the J&K government to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident following demands by the Opposition parties.
According to his family, Assadullah Kumar, who worked as a guard in the J&K government's fisheries department, was shot dead by the Army personnel who had laid siege around Tchansar village in south Kashmir on Friday night.
"There were two people on duty. The Army personnel knocked the door and when Kumar opened it, he was shot without any provocation. He was killed in cold-blood," an employee of the fisheries department said.
The Army official could not be reached for their comments. A senior police officer, however, said Kumar might have been killed in exchange of fire between forces and militants who allegedly managed to escape from the area.
The killing sparked protest in the area on Friday and Saturday as hundreds poured into the native village of the slain man to participate in his funeral prayers.
This is the second such incident in as many days in south Kashmir, which has been the centre of the civilian uprising following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
On Thursday, a former Congress sarpanch was shot dead under mysterious circumstances in Dooru of south Kashmir, with his family accusing the forces of killing him in a fake encounter.
The CPI(M) Saturday demanded judicial probe into the killings at Dooru and Tchansar, saying such incidents put a question mark on the credibility of the government.
"We demand a judicial probe into the twin killings of civilians in Dooru belt of Anantnag district and Tchansar belt of Kulgam district by security forces," senior CPI(M) leader and MLA Kulgam, MY Tarigami, told reporters in Srinagar.
"Evidence reveal that Sajjad Malik was in custody and he was later killed in a staged encounter at Dooru. Killing of Assadullah Kumar is one more addition to the long list of brutalities committed by those claiming to be protectors of law," he said.
The Opposition National Conference has also demanded a time-bound probe into the killing. "“Over the past couple of days, the situation in south Kashmir is deteriorating but CM has decided to maintain complete silence. She must speak and reassure people particularly the ones who were forced to protest on Srinagar- Jammu highway following administration’s initial refusal to order a probe into this killing.”
The Congress's MLA from Kulgam's Devsar constituency, M Amin Bhat, condemned the killing. “"Government forces are directly responsible for the innocent killings by terming them as counter insurgency operations. This incident needs to be probed.”
The colleagues of the victim Saturday staged a protest demonstration at Press Enclave in Srinagar, demanding compensation for Kumar's family and an impartial probe to bring his killers to justice.