Outrage in Sopore as local youth said to be killed in police custody

Outrage in Sopore as local youth said to be killed in police custody

Police claim he was an OGW, had escaped from custody a day before

Baramulla: Suspicions over the death of youth who had been arrested by police in Sopore area of Baramulla district triggered a fresh wave of anger in this northern region after police claimed that the youth was an over-ground worker (OGW) for militants and had escaped from police custody a day before police recovered his body near a stone quarry.

Family members of the youth have alleged that the youth was no more than a shopkeeper and he was killed in police custody.

On Wednesday morning, police district Sopore issued a statement that “On 15-09-2020 at about 12:45 hours, one OGW namely Irfan Ahmad Dar (age 23/24 years) son of Mohammad Akbar Dar of Sidiq-Colony, Sopore, was apprehended and two Chinese hand grenades were recovered from his possession. In this regard a case FIR number 257/2020 under Section 18 ULA (P) Act, 7/27 A. Act was registered in police station Sopore and investigation taken up.”

The statement further read, “During the course of investigation, a team visited Chairdaji area of Tujjar-Sharief along with the OGW for affecting some more recovery on the disclosure of the OGW. In the meanwhile, the OGW while taking advantage of darkness and terrain managed to escape, regarding which a separate case FIR number 71/2020 under Section 224 IPC was registered in police station Bomai and during search the body of OGW was found near a stone quarry of Tujjar-Sharief village.”

“Accordingly, the body was taken to the nearby PHC, wherefrom (it was) shifted to PCR Kashmir hospital for fulfilling medical and other legal formalities and final disposal. Further investigation is going on,” it added.

When news of the youth’s death reached his native area in Sidiq Colony Sopore, scores of people including family members took to the streets and held protests. They accused the police of custodial killing saying the youth was arrested by police on September 14 and later killed.

Javid Ahmad, brother of the deceased youth, said, “I along with my brother Irfan Ahmad Dar, who was running a shop in the local market, were both held by Sopore police for questioning. They set me free after some time but Irfan was kept in custody. I am sure that the police did not recover any kind of arms or ammunition from Irfan. The police statement that two hand grenades were recovered from Irfan and that he escaped from custody is completely baseless. Irfan had no links with militants and police are shielding their men who killed Irfan in custody.”

Javid appealed to the government to order a magisterial enquiry and book the killers under law.

The people protesting in Sopore shouted slogans against the police and called the death a murder in police custody. Some youths hurled stones at the police deployed in the area. However, the protestors later dispersed peacefully.

Mobile internet services were suspended in entire police district Sopore on Wednesday by the authorities. Sources said that the body of Irfan was buried by police at some unknown place early Wednesday morning.

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