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A 30-year-old lecturer was beaten to death in custody, allegedly by Army personnel, who rounded up more than 20 youths from a south Kashmir village late Wednesday night.
The J&K government registered a case of murder against the “Army and others” Thursday while the Army, expressing regret, announced an inquiry into the incident that took place at Sharshali near Khrew in Pulwama district.
In another incident, the CRPF in Srinagar fired pellets at an ambulance driver bringing a patient from Wussan.
Driver Ghulam Mohammad Sofi, despite being severely injured, drove the ambulance to the SMHS Hospital and dropped the patient before he himself was taken to hospital.
Doctors at the Bone and Joint Hospital said the driver had 200-300 pellet wounds. “Right now, he is in very bad shape,’’ said a doctor who examined him.
CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav told The Indian Express that the CRPF man who fired from a pellet gun had been suspended and departmental action initiated. “Twice, the ambulance was asked to stop but did not. The pellet gun was used. The action was quite unwarranted.’’
Residents of Sharshali said scores were injured when the Army personnel entered the village Wednesday night and hit people with “rods and planks with nails”.
Lecturer Shabir Ahmad Mango, among those taken away by the Army personnel, was brought dead to Pampore hospital early Thursday.
Block Medical Officer Dr Saba told The Indian Express: “He (Shabir) was brought here by police at 5.30 in the morning. He was brought dead. He had external injuries on the face and chest.”
Abdul Majeed, a resident of Sharshali, said Army personnel came to the village Wednesday night. “It was around 10.30 pm when Army vehicles entered our village from different directions. The men entered every house. They were also carrying rods and planks with nails. Anyone who came in their way was beaten up.”
Abdul Ahad, admitted with injuries to the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar, said: “Four of us, including Shabir, were taken to an Army camp at Pampore. At around three in the night, they (Army personnel) took us to the police station. Shabir was dying and the police were refusing to take him. He (Shabir) asked for water and then passed away at the police station.”
At the SMHS Hospital, 17 Sharshali residents with serious injuries are in ward number 18. Among them is Riyaz Ahmad (30): “They hit everybody — the old, young and children. They hit us on the head, on our legs and arms.”
Pulwama Deputy Commissioner Muneer-ul-Islam said: “We have registered an FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder). We have conducted an autopsy.”
The Army regretted the incident and said there will be a probe. Lt General Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said: “It is regrettable. We are looking into it. It was a joint patrol. It is not clear yet what happened. We will investigate.”