On Tuesday, the Army claimed to have killed a militant in an operation in the forests of Hafrada in Kupwara district. However, the family of the alleged militant — Shahid Bashir Mir, 23 — claimed that he was an innocent college student who was tortured to death by the Army and then dubbed a militant.
Shahid was a third-year student of Degree College Handwara and was aiming to crack the Kashmir Administrative Services examination. According to police, he was not involved in any subversive or militant activity.
Protests against the killing began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday. While the Kupwara Deputy Commissioner was speaking with Shahid’s relatives, protesters set on fire two vehicles of his cavalcade. The police fired tear smoke shells and arrested some villagers, after which Shahid’s body was buried amid slogan-shouting.
Daril village is 5 km from the spot where the Army claimed to have launched an operation against militants on Tuesday on the basis of specific intelligence. Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said, “The Army column was fired upon by terrorists, which was retaliated. The body of an individual was recovered and handed over to the police, further investigations are on.”
To pacify villagers refusing to bury the body, Kupwara DC Jahangir Mir handed a certificate to the family proving Shahid’s innocence. “We learnt about the incident yesterday. During initial investigation we found that Shahid was not involved in subversive or criminal activity,’’ he said, adding that a magisterial probe had been ordered.
Shahid’s relatives recounted how Shahid was “abducted” from the village and “brutally” murdered by the Army.