Palhalan aghast over ‘indictment’ of youth killed by police in Feb

Srinagar: Hundreds of residents of Palhalan demonstrated on Friday, accusing the police of booking a youth, whom they had shot dead during a protest last month, on charges of stone pelting.
Soon after the Friday prayers, the protesters took to streets and raised slogans against the police and the state government for naming Farooq Ahmad Bhat in an FIR.
The protesters blocked the Jehlum Valley Road, disrupting traffic for quite some time.
Farooq was killed in police firing on 9 February in Palhalan. The incident also left two other persons critically injured.
The government had ordered an inquiry into the incident, which triggered massive protests in the area then.
Riyaz Ahmad, a protester, told Kashmir Reader that the magisterial enquiry had exonerated Farooq of all charges and declared him innocent, but the police report indicts Farooq as a stone pelter.
“We do not understand why police booked him under stone pelting charges,” Ahmad said.
The residents threatened massive agitation if charges against Ahmad were not dropped immediately.
Later, sub-district magistrate Pattan Hamida Akhtar, who was the inquiry officer, reached the spot and pacified the protesters, promising appropriate action.
When contacted, Akhtar told Kashmir reader that the residents of Palhalan had some misconception regarding the police report. She said that two days ago she had submitted the report to government, declaring Farooq innocent.
“The police and government enquiry have made clear that Farooq was not involved in any anti-national activity,” she said.
“The district administration had already communicated to the family that government will give compensation to the victim’s family,” Akhter said, adding, the family has not “fulfilled the official procedures till date”.
“They have not submitted the required documents to the administration.”
Former Baramulla district Talat Parvaiz had assured to make the findings of the enquiry public.
“Any information which is not detrimental to the independence of the Union or is not covered under the State Secrets Act can be available to everybody. Today is the age of information. Anybody can see the report,” Parvaiz had said.
However, the report has not been made public, as promised by Talat.