Nearly five days after a 23-year-old youth was killed by the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) after being suspected of being a Naxalite, Karnataka police have registered an FIR and detained the constable who fired the shots at Mohammed Kabeer in the pre-dawn hours of April 19 at the Thanikodu checkpost on the Sringeri-Karkala route.
ANF police constable Naveen G Naik, a recipient of the 2012 President’s Gallantry medal for anti-Naxal operations, has been detained at the Sringeri police station following a complaint by Umar Farooq, one of the three other persons who were in the pick-up truck along with Kabeer when it was stopped at the check post for inspection by a joint team of local police officials and the ANF personnel at 3:30 am on April 19.
The ANF has claimed that Kabeer was killed after he and his associates acted suspiciously and tried to flee the scene when confronted by the police team.
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The ANF said its personnel suspected the men to be Naxals, leading constable Naik to open fire from his AK-47.
Police sources said Naik had been booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. He has been detached from the ANF operation and asked to report to the Sringeri police station, an official said.
The officials claimed that they wer awaiting orders from senior police officers to produce the constable in a jurisdictional court. Meanwhile, the ANF has reportedly put its force on alert following intelligence inputs that the sensitive episode might be used to orchestrate an attack on them by the Naxals.
The incident has also taken a communal turn with local Hindu right-wing groups alleging that Kabeer and his associates were involved in cattle smuggling and that no compensation should be paid to his family.
Right-wing activists have attacked supporters of the victim’s family, who have sought justice. The Dakshina Kannada district president of the Karnataka Komu Sauharda Vedike, Suresh Bhat Bakrabail, had cow dung flung at him by Bajrang Dal members on Tuesday after he announced a protest march to Sringeri. Bhat has filed a case of attempt to murder against the Bajrang Dal members.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) has sought a detailed report into the controversial killing of the youth.
The KSHRC has directed the police to take all permissible legal action against the policemen for killing an innocent person.
KSHRC member C G Hungund said the commission has taken a serious view of the incident and ordered the government to submit a detailed report.
“The KSHRC has sent its order seeking the report on the incident to the chief secretary of the state government, the deputy commissioner of the Chikmagalur district and to the chief of ANF,” Hungund said.
According to the order passed by the KSHRC on Wednesday, the chief secretary must give details of the incident, the action already taken and the action proposed to be taken.
The KSHRC has further directed the ANF chief to send a copy of the CID inquiry into the incident within a month.