Mohammad Suhail/ Raashid Hassan
Shopian: A 22-year-old youth was killed when government forces opened fire on people protesting against a cordon and search operation here in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday evening. Many others are feared injured.
The slain civilian has been identified as Adil Farooq Magray, son of Farooq Ahmad, resident of Balpora village in Shopian district.
“He was brought dead to our hospital. He had a bullet wound near his heart,” Medical Superintendent (MS) of Shopian District Hospital, Dr Nazir Ahmad, confirmed while talking to Kashmir Reader.
Asked if there were any injured at the hospital, the MS said, “None has been brought here so far.”
According to reports, government forces cordoned off Ganawpora village, adjacent to Balpora village, at about 7pm Tuesday evening.
“We had inputs regarding presence of militants in the area,” a police source told Kashmir Reader.
Soon after the cordon was laid, people in large numbers came out to protest, in an attempt to give militants an opportunity to flee. In the subsequent stone throwing and tear smoke shelling, several gunshots reverberated in the area. The locals alleged that government forces fired bullets at the youth protesting in the village, among whom was Adil.
“He was rushed to Shopian district hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead,” a local source told Kashmir Reader.
Adil’s body has been handed over to his family and people have started assembling in Balpora village for his funeral.
Following the killing, the area erupted in violent protests despite heavy rains.
The cordon, meanwhile, is intact and the forces are trying to establish contact with the militants believed to be holed-up in the area.
As chaos prevailed in the area, reports started coming in of several other civilians being injured in clashes with government troops. Kashmir Reader could not verify the reports independently.
Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid said he was trying to ascertain the facts and asked this reporter to talk to Shopian’s Superintendent of Police.
Efforts to reach the Shopian SP, AS Dinkar, proved futile.
A police spokesperson in a statement said, “during the search operation an unruly mob started heavy stone pelting on the forces and also a brief exchange of fire took place”.
It said, the search operation is intact.