2 critical, may not survive: doctor; more than 20 injured
SRINAGAR: Four people were shot dead by government forces in Aripanthan village of Beerwah area of Budgam district on Tuesday and more than 20 others were injured, two of them critically.
A survivor of the carnage, Ghulam Rasool, who had a miraculous escape after a bullet scraped his head, told Kashmir Reader at SKIMS Medical College Hospital, Bemina, that CRPF troopers and police fired into a small group of protesters who were demonstrating against atrocities committed by the troopers the previous night.
He said the villagers had stopped the cavalcade of the sub-divisional magistrate on India’s independence day on Monday to prevent her from hoisting the tricolour. However, she took a detour and hoisted the flag at a local venue. On her return, her cavalcade was stoned.
“To avenge the incident the troopers smashed window panes of our homes and fired teargas canisters into our rooms. We protested during the night against the assault,” he said.
Rasool said that the CRPF troopers, police and “STF personnel” came to the village on Tuesday morning and fired two teargas canisters into a small group of men who were buying newspapers and other stuff.
On hearing teargas shell explosions, many residents came onto the road and joined a group of about 15-20 people who had been protesting against the nocturnal “atrocities”.
“The troopers then fired into the protesting crowd without firing any warning shots or more teargas canisters. Mohammad Ashraf (Wani of Hazarpora) was killed on the spot,” he said.
Showkat Ahmad, a survivor who was accompanying Ghulam Rasool, said the “troopers fired so many rounds that we saw leaves falling off a tree”.
“Had we not ducked and hit behind a mound, we too would have died,” he said.
Showkat pointed towards Hajira, a middle-aged woman who suffered bullet injury in her left arm, saying, “Even women were not spared. Their motive was murder.”
Ghulam Rasool said that the troopers did not allow people to lift the injured for a long time.
“But the worst happened when they stopped the ambulance at Magam. We had to come back and take Budgam route which wasted more than half an hour. I think they (the dead) would have been saved had they not stopped us. So much of their blood was lost,” he said.
Besides Wani, the other three who were martyred are Javed Ahmad Najar, Javed Ahmad Sheikh and Manzoor Ahmad Lone, all residents of Aripanthan.
Tauqeer Ahmad Bhat, 19, and Farooq Ahmad Bhat, 18, a class 10 student, have been admitted the ICU of SKIMS, Soura.
Taqueer has two bullet wounds in the chest while Farooq has been hit in the head.
A doctor, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the nature of the injuries suggests the troopers had fired with the intention to kill.
“The way Tauqeer has been injured reveals that he was kneeling when the bullets hit him in the jaw and moved downward into his chest,” the doctor said.
A bullet had blown up a portion of Farooq’s skull, the doctor said.
“Some of his brain matter was found outside the wound,” the doctor said, adding the chances of the survival of the injured duo are bleak.
“Both the patients have lost a vast amount of blood at the spot and on way to hospital,” he said.
Attendants of the injured who have been admitted to the SKIMS Medical College named Mohammad Maqbool Wani, Aqib, Hilal Ahmad and Reena among the injured.
CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav said, “Six-hundred to 700 people attacked us from all sides. We used every strategy to disperse them but we were left with no option than to fire.”
He said four CRPF vehicles have been damaged and 24 troopers were injured.