Srinagar: The additional district commissioner Kupwara will begin on Thursday a magisterial inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the killing of college student Shahid Bashir Mir by the army in Handwara forests on the night of August 21.
The army has said that Shahid, a student of Degree College Handwara, was killed during an encounter with militants in forests of Handwara on the night intervening August 21-22.
Shahid’s father, Bashir Ahmad Mir, is a carpenter and lives in a modest house in Daril, Tarathpora, some 23 km from Handwara administrative headquarters. Shahid was his eldest son. His remaining family includes his wife, four daughters, and a son who studies in Class 4.
The killing of Shahid had triggered street protests in Handwara town, prompting the government to order a magisterial enquiry into the incident. “The investigation will start from Thursday,” additional district commissioner Kupwara, Manzoor Ahmad Pir, told Kashmir Reader. Pir has been designated as the magistrate who will head the inquiry into the circumstances under which Shahid was killed.
“I will start recording statements of people and (Shahid’s) family members from August 31,” he said. “I will seek a report from police and army as well. I hope that the investigation will be completed very soon.”
He said that the police report on Shahid was “favourable” to him. “To get any ex-gratia (monetary assistance from the government), the next of kin must have a No-Objection Certificate (NoC) from police as well as army,” he informed.
A senior police official from Kupwara said, “Shahid was not involved in any subversive or crime-related activity. An NoC in this regard has already been issued.”
The police official, who requested anonymity, said that an FIR 83/ 2017 was registered on August 24 at police station Wilgam over the incident. “The FIR states that an army (patrol) was attacked by militants and the soldiers retaliated,” he said.
An army spokesperson told Kashmir Reader, “The army (had) launched a specific intelligence-based operation in the Haphruda forest on the night of 21-22 Aug 17. The army column was fired upon by militants, which was retaliated.”
“During search operations, the body of an individual was recovered and handed over to police,” he said, adding, “further investigations are on to ascertain the facts.”
The police official told Kashmir Reader, “a probe is underway to uncover as to how the (militant) attack took place. But (the report) from our side (is) that Shahid was a civilian.”
Hoping to receive justice, Bashir said, “No one has come to our home yet (for recording the statement). We have been promised prompt investigation by the district commissioner.”
According to Bashir, Shahid left home for the market in Tarathpora on August 21, after which he went missing. Next day, he went to file a missing report in the local Wilgam police station.
On August 23, he received a call from the police station to identify a body that the army had brought to the station. Bashir went there and saw that it was of his eldest son.