The fragile peace in Kashmir valley is yet again under threat. As expected, the killing of a local youth in Handwara of North Kashmir has triggered violent protests that only spread by the day.
In a statement, the army claimed that they have killed a militant in the ongoing encounter in Hafruda forest area. But it turned out that the slain person was a local civilian belonging to Daril Tarathpora area of Handwara.
Slain Shahid was a 3rd year student studying in Degree College Handwara. His family had lodged a missing report in the local police station after he did not return home and attempts to trace him by his family failed.
Police has stated that Shahid was not a militant and that they are ascertaining the facts to know the circumstances of his presence in the area where an encounter was on between militants and security forces.
On Wednesday, North Kashmir was tense and saw massive violent clashes in some areas of Handwara that even saw torching of government vehicles. Schools and colleges in the area too were closed as a precautionary measure given the shutdown.
Defence Spokesperson Rajesh Kalia has been quoted as saying that they are ascertaining the facts even as district administration too has initiated an inquiry into the matter. However, the serious nature of the issue demands urgency in the approach and act of the authorities.
In past, there have been instances where lack of clear communication in similar cases has lead to confrontation and violence of massive proportions. The possibility of such a violent outcry cannot be ruled out this time either.
It is imperative that light be shed on what was the sequence of events and under what circumstances did a 3rd year student end up getting killed in an encounter between militants and security forces. This becomes important in the back drop of allegations leveled by some people including those who have seen Shahid for the last time.
Shahid, according to these people has gone to a mosque to attend dusk prayers, however, he did not reach home which alarmed his family.
Any delay in providing clarity to public would enhance chances of a flare up that definitely is not desired.
Though nothing can give solace to the distressed family of Shahid, it is incumbent upon authorities to clear the air and bring facts to fore so that the bereaved family’s questions are answered.
In case anyone is found guilty of an unlawful act, responsibility must be fixed and action should taken.