Hygam (Sopore): Residents of Hygam, Sopore, staged a protest rally on Monday in memory of the people killed by the government forces in this north Kashmir village during a protest in 2001.
Carrying placards and raising pro-freedom slogans, the people, mostly youths, took out the rally on Srinagar-Muzzafarabad highway. The protest continued for several hours after which the protesters dispersed peacefully.
The people offered special prayers in mosques and at the local graveyard for all the people killed on the day.
Recollecting the incident, the protesters said that a large number of people had staged a protest on the Srinagar-Muzzafarbad highway on the fateful day against the custodial killing of a local JKLF activist Jaleel Ahmad Shah.
They were waiting for his body to arrive when a few vehicles of the army’s 29 RR, headed by a major, reached the spot and forced them to unblock the road, they said.
“Protesters refused to do so. A police team, headed by SHO Sopore Khursheed Ahmad Khan, was also there and the SHO assured the army that he will get the highway unblocked after a few minutes.
“But the army soldiers pushed him back and started unprovoked firing at the protesters, hitting about a dozen people. The soldiers escaped from the spot along with their vehicles,” Abdul Majeed, who was among the people protesting on Monday, said.
The civilians had rushed the injured to various hospitals, but four of them, including a woman, could not be saved. The deceased included Safdar Ali, Manzoor Ahmad, Atteqa Begam, and Bilkesa Akhtar.
Police registered an FIR under RPC section 302 on the next day against the army and their officer, but “15 years past, the killers are roaming free,” Ghulam Hassan, a protester, said.
He said the state government deployed a retired judge for magisterial probe into the incident, while police also ordered additional superintendent of police, Showkat Ahmad, to investigate it.
“But to no avail,” he said.