Jammu & Kashmir Police have registered a case against CRPF personnel for allegedly killing a pedestrian on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Kashmir.
Gowhar Ahmad Dar, a 22-year-old engineering student, was killed when the CRPF fired tear gas shells on a group pelting stones on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway at Zanikote, on the outskirts of Srinagar, the police said. According to the First Information Report, Dar was not among the protesters but just a passer-by, who was hit by a tear gas shell.
The shells were fired by the CRPF men of 44 battalion headquarters after the J&K Police, assigned to safeguard the highway, had surveyed the spot and left, on finding the situation normal, the FIR states. “It was an unprovoked incident that could have been avoided,’’ a senior police officer said.
Protests erupted in the Valley after Dar was killed, and the police registered a case of attempt to murder against the CRPF personnel. Apart from the state government’s magisterial inquiry, the CRPF has also initiated a court of inquiry.
CRPF spokesman Buvesh Choudhary said the FIR is the version of Dar’s family and of people residing in the area.
“This needs to be properly investigated. Our camp was pelted with stones in the morning and in the afternoon. In the evening, the mob was bigger and they tried to enter the camp and also damaged a boundary wall. It was then that our men fired some tear gas shells on the protesters,’’ Choudhary said, adding that CRPF has initiated an inquiry. “If the youth was hit, he could have been part of the crowd,” Choudhary added.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has called for a march on Wednesday to express solidarity with Dar’s family and asked people to assemble at Zanikote. The separatists have rejected the magisterial inquiry, terming it an attempt to save the personnel.
Dar’s family, too, has blamed the CRPF for unprovoked use of force and even claimed that he was hit by a bullet and not by tear gas shells.