Bullets that killed two women on July 11 were also directed at homes, at 12-yr-old
ANANTNAG: The army firing at Churat area in Qazigund on July 11 in which two women, Saida Bano and Neelofar Jan, and a man Showkat Ahmad died, seven others suffering critical injuries, took place after local women prevented the army from arresting three youth from the nearby Khargund village. Most of the men of the area were at the mosque at the time when the army opened fire. Witnesses said that the army also fired at the residential houses in the area.
The army has claimed that they fired in self-defence after locals tried to snatch rifles from them.
The mother of a 12-year-old boy Aqib Ahmad Shah, who was shot at with bullets from close range by the army, and who is still being treated at the SMHS hospital in Srinagar, said that the army opened fire on unarmed protesters at Churat after dozens of women forced army soldiers to release the three youth they had arrested from Khargund village. Other witnesses of the incident confirmed her statement.
Nabza, the mother of Aqib, said that her son was standing within the premises of his uncle’s house when the army fired bullets into his abdomen. Doctors who operated on Aqib five days ago said that the impact of the bullets shows that they were fired from close range.
In the army firing at Churat, Showkat Ahmad and Saida Banoo had died on the spot and Neelofar Jan died from her injuries at SMHS the next day. Nabza said that “the army fired after some women did not allow them to take away three youth they had arrested.”
“The army men had caught three youth in the nearby Khargund village and were taking them along while hurling abuses at them. Some women were already following the army men asking for release of the three youth and they were joined by dozens of other women in our village, who compelled the army to release the youth,” Nabza told Kashmir Reader.
Nabza said that soon after they released the youth, the army soldiers opened fire indiscriminately on gathered protesters.
“My son had returned from tuitions minutes before the army reached the village. On seeing the army men taking the youth along, he moved to his uncle’s house with my consent. But the army men fired at him there,” Nabza said.
Another relative of Aqib who witnessed the incident said that the army fired bullets into residential houses as well. “Aqib was lying in a pool of blood on the veranda of his uncle’s house. It clearly indicates that the army fired at the houses in the area,” he said.
The relative said that most of the men of the village were at the masjid when the army opened fire.
“It were only woman who resisted the arrest of some boys of a nearby village. Was it possible for women to snatch the rifles of army men? They are lying to hide their crime,” he said.
Lying on the hospital bed in the post-operative ward, Aqib looks calm and hardly speaks to anyone who visits him to inquire about his condition. Though the doctors have described Aqib’s condition as stable, they say that the injuries from the bullets have damaged his intestines.
“The bullet had hit Aqib’s abdomen and penetrated through his gut, rupturing his intestines. The damage caused to his organs suggests that he was shot from a close range,” said a doctor at SMHS.