A 23-year-old civilian, identified as Asif Ayoub, a college student from Shopian, was killed in what the police said was “accidental” firing by a policeman at a checkpoint in Haal area of Pulwama district in South Kashmir on Wednesday morning. The policeman has been arrested.
In two separate incidents, four militants were killed in encounters with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
Condemning the death of the student in Pulwama, political parties have demanded a probe into the incident.
Ayoub’s family members said he was with a cousin on a motorcycle when he was shot. “This is the harvesting season, and he was going on a bike when they shot him at Haal bridge. I don’t know whether they shot him deliberately or if it was a misfire,” said a cousin, Naseem Ahmad.
“Today, while on duty at Haal, Pulwama, the rifle of a policeman accidentally went off, resulting in injuries to a person. The injured person was immediately evacuated to the hospital by police. Later on, the injured person… succumbed to his injuries at hospital,” said ADGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar. He said a case was registered and the policeman had been arrested. “Further investigation is going on,” he said.
Condemning the killing, former chief minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah sought a “swift, credible and transparent probe”. “Those responsible must be punished to the fullest extent possible,” he said.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti blamed the “paranoia” of the security forces in the light of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit. “An overcautious & paranoid security apparatus in J&K has snuffed out an innocent life in Pulwama today. The need to prove normalcy overrides the sanctity of lives here. For how long will people of J&K bear a human cost to further GOI’s ‘all is well’ agenda,” she said. Mufti had alleged house arrest on Wednesday morning.
J&K Peoples Conference also condemned the death and demanded a probe.
Meanwhile, three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants were killed in an encounter that began on Tuesday night in Drach area of Shopian. In the second encounter that began early Wednesday, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant was killed in Moolu area of the south Kashmir district, police said.
Police identified the three Jaish militants killed in Drach as Hanan Bin Yaqoob, Jamsheed Ahmad Magray and Zubair Maqbool Wani, and said they were involved in the killing of Special Police Officer (SPO) Javed Dar in Pulwama on October 2, and the killing of a migrant labourer from West Bengal in Pulwama on September 24.
The LeT militant killed in the Moolu encounter has been identified as Arif Rashid Wani. Police said he was involved in “several terror crime cases including attacks on police/ security forces and civilian atrocities.”
“Three local terrorists linked with proscribed terror outfit JeM killed in encounter at Drach Shopian,” tweeted ADGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar. He added that a local operative of the LeT was also killed in an encounter in Moolu.