Last year one evening in August, Riyaz Ahmad Shah, was driving back home when he was fired upon with pellets by government forces. His body lied on the road next to the Kashmir’s main hospital, Shri Maharja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, before it was handed over to the relatives for last rites. More than seven months after the killing, police have however failed to arrest anyone in the case even as the family has blamed the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the murder.
Riyaz’s brother, Zahoor Ahmad Shah, said, that the local unit of the CRPF was responsible for the killing.
“There is a CRPF camp which existed near the hospital from where he was fired upon with pellets,’’ he said. Recalling the incident, Zahoor said that the family had received a call from the police about the death and after they had rushed to claim the body it was riddled with pellets. “We were informed by the doctors that Riyaz had received 372 pellets. The autopsy report revealed that he had died of pellet injuries.”
Police had initially stated that the death occurred in an accident, but following the autopsy report, they registered a case. A senior police official said that the investigation in the case was going on.
Riyaz’s brother, Zahoor, said that they lodged a complaint with the police that the personnel of the CRPF camp, who were nearby, fired upon the Riyaz with pellets that lead to his death. However, a police official investigating the case said that no arrests have been made in the case as the accused couldn’t be identified.
The probe was ordered after government had admitted “wrong doing in the case.” Admitting that security forces had committed excesses while dealing with the protests Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, had ordered an inquiry by the special investigation team (SIT) of police in the killing of Riyaz and a college lecturer of Khrew. The inquiry was ordered during the Budget session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in January. A case of murder was registered at Karan Nagar police station after the recovery of pellet ridden body of Reyaz.
Zahoor said that when they had called on Riyaz’s cell phone he had informed them that he was heading home which was only few kilometers away from the place where he was working as an ATM guard. “After Riyaz didn’t answer our calls for few hours we got anxious. Later we got the call from the police and local people that his body was lying in the PCR. We claimed it from there, but we ensured that the autopsy was done before we buried him.” He said that the police has only shielded the accused.
“We visited the police station where the case is registered, but they have not arrested any one,” he said.
Riyaz’s niece, Nisha Zahoor, said that she misses her uncle. “My another uncle was to get married a week before Riyaz died. We were grief struck and solemnized the marriage towards the end of February this year. It was an austere marriage for us and we missed Riyaz uncle.”