- Police ‘murder’ class X student in Narbal
- The teen was detained briefly by the accused cops before being shot from a close range, say his relatives
Srinagar: A 17-year-old boy, Suhail Ahmad Sofi, was murdered in cold blood by an assistant sub-inspector of police in Narbal on Saturday morning, the boy’s relative’s said.
The killing, which comes days after a youth was “tortured” to death in Tral, triggered a wave of protests across the Valley. Some of these protests morphed into clashes between protesters and forces, leading to injury to more than a dozen people.
Suhail’s cousin Tariq Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the accused policeman and a few personnel accompanying him arrived in a Gypsy and swooped on a group of boys who were hooting at commuters for defying the strike called by pro-freedom groups against the arrest of Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam. The boys were also shouting slogans against the Indian media channels for biased reporting on Kashmir. He said the police detained Suhail for sometime.
“I then saw him walk a few steps and then the officer fired a shot in his back. He collapsed instantly. Another policeman fired a burst of gunfire and boarded the Gypsy and then they fled away,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad said he stopped a vehicle at the Main Narbal Chowk, in which he ferried Suhail to the JVC hospital, Bemina, where he breathed his last.
“Suhail had come out of his house to see whether his school was open or not. However, when the cops came towards him menacingly, he tried to flee towards the taxi stand where I and other locals were seated,” Ahmad said, adding, “It is a cold blooded murder. What had this young boy done to the cop?”
“The teenager had a bullet wound in the left kidney region on the back due to which he died,” medical superintendent, JVC, Bemina, Dr Ajaz Mustafa told Kashmir Reader.
The news of his death sparked off a massive protest in Narbal, which the police and paramilitary forces put down with force by firing teargas canisters and firing empty shots in air. The angry mourners shouted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and pelted the forces with stones.
The forces then fired pellet ammunition at the protesters to prevent them from reaching the slain youth’s home for last rites, witnesses said, injuring Jamsheed Ahmad Bhat of Karan Nagar and Irfan Ahmad Wani of Chek-e-Kawoosa.
Wani had suffered multiple pellet injuries in the left eye, chest, arms, left side of face and forehead. He was referred to SKIMS, Soura, for specialized treatment.
A policeman identified as Irshad Ahmad was also treated for minor head injury caused by a stone.
“We were preparing for the Nimaz-e-Jinaza of Suhail when policemen got down from armoured vehicles and fired pellets at us,” Jamsheed told Kashmir Reader in the emergency section of JVC, Bemina.
Bhat, who recieved pellets on face and chest, said that the troopers at Narbal bridge prevented the van that was carrying him and other two injured to the JVC hospital for treatment. Earlier, the injured, he said were taken to the Magam hospital by the locals.
“It was only after an officer intervened that we were allowed to go,” he added.
Hundreds of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain teenager at the main Market, Narbal.
After the funeral, witnesses said, groups of youth appeared from small lanes and by lanes of Narbal and engaged the forces in ding-dong battles. The forces fired pellets after teargas canisters failed to contain the spiralling protests. At least five people were reported to be injured in the clashes that continued till late evening.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, who is on 30-hour hunger strike over the New Delhi proposed “composite township” plan was arrested by police when he tried to visit Narbal along with social activist Swami Agnivesh.
The killing also set off violent parts in other major towns and districts of the Valley, as a complete shutdown was observed in response to the Hurriyat Conference (G) call that saw all shops and business establishments closed and public transport off the roads.
In Srinagar, angry youth hit the streets after the news of Narbal teenager’s killings spread this afternoon. Youth converged at Nowhatta, Gojwara, Saraf Kadal, Kawdara and other places of the downtown and clashed with the forces
“The forces used batons and lobbed tearsmoke shells to chase away the protesting youth. However, the protesters regrouped and continued renewed assaults on the forces. Many people suffred injuries in clashes,” Abdul Hamid, a witness told Kashmir Reader.
Protesters and forces were also locked in pitched battles at Batmaloo, Tengpora and other parts of uptown. (See more on P3)