SRINAGAR: Whenever there is a clash between government forces and protesters in Safakadal area of old city, a name that is most abused during the heated exchange of stones and invectives, is Jeevan Koan, nickname for a police officer, Suhail Mushtaq.
Local residents accused Mushtaq of using heavyhanded tactics during protests and clashes, including wanton use of pellets and batons.
“There is no day when he does not fire pellets indiscriminately,” said Amjid (first name), a local youth.
This correspondent met Amjid when he was sitting with his friends on the shopfronts in the interiors of the area .
“He comes and shoots irrespective of the nature of the situation. A few days ago I was hit by pellets on my back. My other friends too were injured,” said Arif who requested he should be quoted by first name only.
They accuse Mushtaq of opening fire on a motorcycle-borne teenager at Nawa Kadal when he was heading towards his home on Friday. He has been operated on twice since in his left eye. The teenager is the only bread winner of his family, as his father had expired a few years ago.
On last Sunday evening, residents said, the officer had fired pellets at a youth outside his home that injured him in the face, just below the eye. His mother too was injured. According to a family member, the officer accompanied by a posse of policemen, damaged windows, doors and sewage pipe of their house.
“The incident had disturbed mental health of the mother. After the incident she was taken to the SMHS hospital that referred him to the Psychiatric hospital where she was admitted for four days,” a brother of the youth said.
Mushtaq, a duty officer at Noorbagh police post, denied charges.
“I come out to clear the road that is blocked by the stonepelters. In this situation whenever there is a need to fire a pellet and teargas shell I do it as per the law. I have only hit pellets in their legs and hands, never in the eyes,” he said.
The officer has been posted in area for the past two years and it was learnt that he has repeatedly written to higher ups to transfer him to other places.
Suhail has lost one eye, a few years ago, by a splinter of an exploded grenade. Now protestors mock him by calling him Jevan Koan (one-eyed Jeevan). Jeevan was film name of a noted Kashmiri Pandit Bollywood villain, Omkar Nath Dhar, in the 50s and 60s. Dhar’s family originally hailed from Safa Kadal.
During a protest demonstration, youths shout “akh, ze, tre, byaak aech di mei (give me your second eye).”
“Which police officer can tolerate such things being said about him in public but I don’t let it affect me and my work professionally,” Suhail added.
In the past, many police officers have been accused of atrocities.
Two days ago, senior resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani called Touseef Mir, a duty officer at Bus Stand Choki Islamabad, a “butcher and criminal” and warned him that unless he desists from his actions. “we cannot stop people to tackle you directly.”
The station house officer at Semthan, Bijbehara, Arshid Khan, has also been accused of atrocities. Local residents allege that Khan shot dead a donkey they had named after him.