Govt orders magisterial probe
Kupwara: Having one brother in the army and two in the police could not save young Khalid Ahmad Malik from being shot dead by army soldiers in his native village in Trehgam in frontier district Kupwara on Wednesday evening. At his funeral today morning, in which thousands of people joined despite restrictions imposed by government forces, his father appealed to the government to lodge an FIR against the army and investigate the killing of his son which, he said, took place 500 meters away from the spot where stone-pelting on the army was taking place.
Khalid was laid to rest amid intense anti-India and pro-Azadi slogans in his ancestral graveyard at Trehgam, in front of his three elder brothers who work for the government forces. Asif Ahmad Malik, who is in the army’s TA regiment, was at home on leave when people told him that army soldiers had shot dead his brother. Constable Wasim Ahmad Malik was on duty outside Kupwara district when the killing took place. Another elder brother, Talib Ahmad Malik, who was recruited in JK Police this year, was on duty in police station Trehgam. He is scheduled to go on police training next month.
Khalid, who ran a shop in his village, was killed by troops of the army’s 68 Mountain Brigade when they were checking identity cards of people and some youths began hurling stones at them. Khalid was hit by a bullet on his neck and died on the spot, eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader.
Khalid had two younger siblings as well – a brother, Amir Ahmad Malik, who studies in Class 11, and a sister who is the youngest of the lot. His father, Abdul Gaffar Malik, is a farmer. His mother died in 2011 when she was struck by a thunderbolt outside her home, relatives told Kashmir Reader. They added that Khalid’s uncle, the younger brother of Abdul Gaffar, Mohammad Abdullah Malik, was associated with the JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) and was killed by the army in custody.
Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, the younger brother JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, addressed the people at Khalid’s funeral. Zahoor was in Srinagar but reached his native village Trehgam in the middle of the night. While talking to Kashmir Reader, Zahoor said that Azadi is the only demand of Kashmiris and they will not compromise with it at any cost. He said that every day young lives are being lost and the silence of the international community is a matter of concern. He referred to Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement that 50 soldiers were injured in stone-pelting at Trehgam on Wednesday evening, and said, “I challenge Genral Rawat to show one soldier who was injured in stone-pelting (at Trehgam).”
Zahoor Bhat said that there is unrest in other states in India but we never hear that army has fired on civilians throwing stones. He said that Khalid was 500 meters away from the spot of protests and was going home when he was hit by a bullet on the back of his neck, which indicates that he was not hurling stones.
Zahoor expressed sympathy with the bereaved family on behalf of the resistance leadership and assured people that their sacrifices will not go waste.
When Khalid’s body was being carried away for burial, women of the area collectively beat their chests and there were tears in everyone’s eyes. Locals said that Khalid was a religious and honest boy who helped his family by running a shop in Trehgam.
Local sources said that soon after the burial, a large number of people took to the streets and clashed with government forces for hours. Youths hurled stones while government forces fired tear smoke shells and pellets at them. In the clashes, a dozen people, including some policemen, sustained minor injuries, locals said.
A complete shutdown was observed across Kupwara district on Thursday against Khalid’s killing by the army. All shops and business establishments, private offices, tuition centres, petrol pumps were closed and both public and private transport was completely off the roads. People alleged that government forces vandalised several houses and shops in Trehgam area during the day.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kupwara Khalid Jahangir said on Thursday that a magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident at Trehgam in which Khalid Malik was killed. The Additional DC Handwara will act as Inquiry Officer of the probe, he said. “Yes, we ordered an inquiry in the case and Additional DC Handwara has been selected as Inquiry Officer. He will submit his report in one month,” Jahangir told Kashmir Reader.
Internet services were blocked in Kupwara, Handwara and adjoining areas from Wednesday evening, soon after the death of Khalid Malik, and remained blocked throughout the day on Thursday.
Police sources said that an FIR (number 46/2018) has been registered over Khalid’s killing but the charges are yet to be decided. “Senior officers will decide the sections (under which to book charges),” a police source said.