Srinagar, Sep 16: The mysterious death of a 23-year-old in Sopore area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla triggered a fresh wave of anger in the area today with family members of the deceased alleging that their son was murdered in custody.
Sensing trouble, the authorities suspended internet services in the area to prevent any law and order issue. Police, however, said that the youth was an Over Ground Worker arrested on September 15 along with two grenades and that he died after fleeing during the night raid after which his body was found near a stone quarry at Tujjar Shareef area of Sopore.
The family members of the deceased youth Irfan, accused police of dubbing their son as a militant and killing him in custody. “I along with my brother Irfan were picked up by police for questioning on September 14 and we were kept separately. I was set free but my brother was kept in the police custody,” Javaid Ahmed, Irfan’s brother said.
He added that his brother has been killed in police custody and that he had no militant links. “My brother is innocent and was a shopkeeper by profession. Police claims about recovery of grenades is nothing but baseless story.”
Javaid demanded an impartial independent probe into what he alleged “murder” of his brother. He said that they have CCTVs installed at their main entrance and one can easily check whether any militant had entered their house for shelter as claimed by police.
He said that his brother was killed in police custody. “They snatched not only my brother but my best too,” said Javaid. “The irony is that after killing my brother in custody, police has not even handed over his body to us. We demand the body of our son be handed over to us forthwith.”
A police statement issued here said that on September 15 at about 12:45 pm, one OGW Irfan Ahmad Dar son of Mohammad Akbar Dar R/o Sidiq-Colony, Sopore was apprehended and two Chinese hand grenades were recovered from his possession.
“In this regard, Case FIR No. 257/2020 U/S 18 ULA (P) Act, 7/27 A. Act was registered in Police Station Sopore and investigation taken up,” the police statement said. “During the course of investigation, a Police Team visited Chairdaji area of Tujjar-Sharief along with OGW for affecting some more recovery on the disclosure of the OGW.”
The police statement further read that in the meanwhile, the OGW while taking advantage of darkness and terrain managed to escape regarding which a separate Case FIR No. 71/2020 U/S 224 IPC was registered in Police Station Bomai. “And during search, the body of OGW was found near Stone Quarry of Tujjar-Sharief,” the police statement said, adding that the body was taken to the nearby Primary Health Centre (PHC), wherefrom it was shifted to PCR Kashmir Hospital for fulfilling medical and other legal formalities and final disposal.
“Further investigation is going on,” the police statement said.
Meanwhile, protests rocked Sopore with youth and women taking to streets demanding inquiry into the incident and the body of Irfan.
The protests erupted in Sopore as youth blocked the main roads with wooden logs, stones and bricks amid slogans “punish the culprits and hand over body of Irfan.”
The mainstream political party leaders including former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir today reacted over the suspicious death of a Sopore youth, saying that stories are being fabricated to justify killing innocent civilians in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a tweet, former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) Vice president Omar Abdullah said that the administration can’t possibly win back the confidence of the people if “encounters” like Shopian or suspicious deaths like Sopore are allowed to pass without the facts being established & guilt.
“The administration can’t possibly win back the confidence of the people if “encounters” like Shopian or suspicious deaths like Sopore are allowed to pass without the facts being established & guilt, when determined, fully punished. @manojsinha_ must intervene in both these cases,” Omar tweeted.
Former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, whose twitter account is currently being operated by her daughter, Iltija Mufti, through a tweet said the cold blooded murder of a shopkeeper wrongfully accused of being an OGW is a grim reminder of how truth is mangled.
“The cold blooded murder of 23 yr old Irfan Ahmed Dar, a shopkeeper by profession wrongfully accused of being an OGW is a grim reminder of how truth is mangled & stories are fabricated to justify killing innocent civilians in J&K,” Mehbooba tweeted.
People’s Conference (PC) president and former minister Sajad Gani Lone in a tweet stated it is imperative that the sanctity of human life is restored in Kashmir.
“Sopore incident just doesn’t add up. They have done a bad job even at inventing a story. The guilty need to be punished,” Sajid Lone tweeted.
“It is imperative that the sanctity of human life is restored in Kashmir. Move beyond statistics. Stop treating bodies as statistics. Theser human lives,” he wrote in his another tweet.
Meanwhile, Apni Party has demanded a high level probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of Irfan Ahmad Dar, a 23-year-old youth from Sidiq-Colony, Sopore.
In a statement issued here, Javid Baig, spokesman of Apni Party demanded that the Government must constitute an inquiry into the incident in order to ascertain the veracity of contradictory claims made by police and family of the deceased youth.
Hurriyat Conference (M) in a statement said that reports of another cold blooded murder of a 24-year-old youth in custody Irfan Ahmed Dar from Sopore, who was arrested on the night of September 14 and taken into police custody, is extremely sad and disturbing.
APHC said “these extra judicial killings by the authorities that keep taking place in the Valley at regular intervals to sustain the atmosphere of fear among people are condemnable to say the least.”
Hurriyat appealed to all rights bodies to take cognizance of these brazen human rights violations and bring the culprits to book.