FIR against Army for civilian death in Kupwara

Patrol resorted to controlled fire at aggressive mob in self-defence, says Army spokesman

The Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday lodged a First Information Report (FIR) mentioning the Army in the killing of a civilian in a ‘clash’ in Kupwara on Wednesday. A magisterial probe has also been ordered. The FIR has been lodged under Section 307 of the Ranbir Penal Code (attempt to murder).

District Magistrate, Kupwara, Khalid Jehangir, said Additional District Commissioner (ADM), Handwara, Muzaffar Hussain, had been appointed as the inquiry officer and would complete the probe in a month. Khalid Gaffar Malik, 22, died of bullet injuries in the throat when the Army opened fire at Kupwara’s Trehgam village.

A Srinagar-based Army spokesman said the Army fired when a mob of 30-40 youths resorted to heavy stone pelting at the highway domination patrol around 8 p.m. “The patrol verbally cautioned the stone-pelters and fired two blank rounds in the air. Stone pelting intensified and five soldiers sustained injuries. The patrol finally resorted to controlled fire at the aggressive mob in self-defence,” said the spokesman.

SHRC seeks report

The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has sought reports from the Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police, Kupwara. The International Forum For Justice Human Rights Jammu and Kashmir Chairman Mohammad Ahsan Untoo filed a petition before the commission alleging that Standard Operating Procedures had been violated in many cases resulting in civilian killings.

It’s for the first time during the Governor’s rule that an FIR was lodged against the Army. Since Governor N.N. Vohra took charge of the State on June 20, around 10 civilians have died in the security forces’ firing either at the encounter site or in clashes.

Fresh clashes

Meanwhile, hundreds of locals participated in the funeral in north Kashmir’s Kupwara. Scores were injured in fresh clashes, as local administration imposed curfew-like restriction by implementing Section 144.

“I call upon the leaders of all political and religious parties and social organisations and the people of the State to shed all differences and join hands to make J&K peaceful, prosperous and among the leading States in the country,” said Mr. Vohra, in his message on upcoming ‘Martyrs Day’, when locals pay tributes to civilians who died in 1931 while fighting Dogra monarchy.

Militant killed

Meanwhile, the Army said an unidentified militant was killed at Menganwar in Kandi forests in Kupwara, where an operation was launched two days ago. “One terrorist was killed and a war-like store recovered. The operation continues in the area,” said the Army.

The Army paid tributes to para trooper Mukut Bihari Meena, who died in the gunfight in Kupwara on Wednesday.

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