Inquiry report to be submitted within three weeks
Baramulla: With the district administration beginning an inquiry and hundreds, if not thousands, of government troops standing guard, a tense day passed in Kralpora area of Kupwara on Monday, where a Sumo taxi driver was shot dead by army soldiers on Saturday night.
Police sources said that now an FIR has been registered against the army on charges of murder (Section 302) but no senior officer was available to confirm this. All shops and business centres in Kralpora, Thandipora, Batpora and other adjoining areas remained closed through the day and public transport was completely off the roads. There was no shutdown, however, in main town Kupwara, where shops and offices were open and traffic was playing normally on the roads.
At the home of the slain driver, Asif Iqbal Bhat, in Thandipora village, hundreds of people began to arrive from early morning to offer their condolences. Most of them were women who had not been able to reach the village on Sunday, when the funeral was held.
The authorities deployed a large number of troops of police, CRPF and other paramilitary across Kralopra to thwart any public protests or street clashes. At some places, check posts had been set up to check or stop the movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
Police said that the situation in Kupwara district was normal and under control on Monday. They also said that SSP Kupwara and some other policemen who were injured in the clashes on Sunday were now in stable condition.
Internet services across Kupwara district remained suspended on Monday, having been blocked on late Saturday night soon after the killing of the taxi driver.
The district administration has begun an independent inquiry into the killing of the driver. Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Kupwara, Mohammad Abdullah Malik, has been appointed as inquiry officer. The District Magistrate Kupwara said that the inquiry team will submit its report within three weeks.
Asif Iqbal Bhat, 25, the eldest son of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, who works as a forest guard, was shot dead outside his home late Saturday night when he was going to nearby Batpora village to ferry a patient to hospital. An army team that had laid an ambush in the area fired at Bhat in the dark without warning or confirming his identity. A statement issued by the army said that Bhat was hit in cross-fire between militants and army soldiers, but the police said there was no cross-fire and that Bhat’s killing was a case of mistaken identity. The family and neighbours of Bhat have said that there was neither any gunfire nor militants in the area and Bhat was killed in cold blood by army soldiers long used to killing with impunity in Kashmir.