Police and paramilitary forces Saturday fired teargas shells and pellets at the funeral procession of a 12-year-old boy, who died of pellet injuries sustained a day earlier. The incident took place when a large crowd was accompanying Junaid Ahmad Akhoon’s body to the cemetery in Eidgah.
A Class VII student and a resident of Saidapora in Srinagar, Junaid died after being hit on the head and chest by pellets fired by security forces on Friday, his family said. His death takes the civilian toll in the violence to 89.
A doctor at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) said Junaid had died of “subdural haematoma” because of “multiple pellets in the brain”. His uncle Mohammad Iqbal alleged, “He was with his mother when the forces fired at him from 20-25 feet away… there were no protests at the time…”
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Those who participated in the funeral procession alleged that the security forces fired teargas shells and pellets at the crowd when it was near Aali Masjid. Three people who received injuries were rushed to SKIMS. The procession eventually took a different route to reach the cemetery.
Junaid is the second minor to have been allegedly killed by pellets in the last month. On September 16, an 11-year-old died allegedly after being hit by over 300 pellets.
SHO, Safakadal Police Station, refused to comment on the incident. The ruling PDP has called the killing “unprovoked” and demanded a probe. “We, as a party, have asked the government to probe this incident,” PDP general secretary Nizam-ud-Din Bhat said.
In an official statement, the PDP said, “The party is anguished over reports of use of unwarranted force which claimed life of an innocent boy.”
The National Conference has called the boy’s killing “heartbreaking and horrific”.