Slain Sopore youth laid to rest amid protests


Srinagar: Arif Maqbool Sofi, who was killed by unidentified gunmen at his maternal home in Harwan village of Sopore in north Kashmir, was laid to rest amid Pro-freedom and Pro-Islam slogans.

According to the reports, hundreds of people including women and children took part in the last rites of 25-year-old slain youth.

Mourners including women and children raised pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans as the body of slain Arif Maqbool was marched through his native village Unisoo Handwara.

The family members of the slain youth said that he went from his home at 06 pm on Wednesday towards his maternal home at Harwan Bomai where he lived most part of his life.

They said that he was called by some unidentified persons in the evening, and shot dead from point-blank range.

Mohammad Maqbool Sofi, father of Arif Maqbool, who is the interim chairman of the separatist group People’s League Party said that his son was innocent.

Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while condemning the killing said that he was deeply saddened.

“Deeply saddened and strongly condemn the killing of 25-year-old Arif Ahmad of Sopore by unknown assailants, killing human beings in every form is cowardly and against humanity”, Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter.

Interestingly, the ruling coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that Arif was an active party member of the party.

The party state president, Sat Sharma, state general Secretary (Org) Ashok Kaul, state general secretary and Incharge Kashmir affairs Dr Narendra Singh and BJP Kashmir unit in an official statement said that they are deeply saddened over the brutal murder of party worker by the militants.

“Pained to learn about the brutal murder of our worker in Sopore. Our deepest condolences to his family. Terrorists must realize that they cannot stop the youth of the valley from choosing a better future for themselves,” they said.

“Killing human beings in every form is cowardly and against humanity,” the leadership said, adding, militants could not stop the youth from choosing a better future.

Meanwhile, according to his family, Arif was working in a pharmaceutical company as a medical representative since last many years. But he left the job in October last year to work as a driver. He is survived by three sisters and two younger brothers.

Pertinently, Senior Superintendent of Police in Sopore Harmeet Singh Mehta said that preliminary investigation reveals that he was not involved with militancy related activities. 

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