Driver’s mysterious death triggers protest in Shopian

Two youths claimed that he was taken into custody by CRPF personnel from a nearby camp.

Written by Agencies | Srinagar | Published: July 31, 2012 1:45:49 pm

A water tanker driver was found dead in mysterious circumstances,triggering protests in south Kashmir’s Shopian town today,official sources said.

Aaqib Ahmad Bhat,who was in his twenties,was found dead near his water tanker at Balpora in Shopian district,52 km from here,leading to protests this morning,they said.

Two youths who were accompanying Bhat claimed that he was taken into custody by CRPF personnel from a nearby camp at Balpora last night,they said.

The duo has been detained for questioning.

As hundreds of protesters gathered in Shopian town,senior police and civil administration officials of the district rushed to the spot to pacify the crowd,the sources said.

They said the body of the deceased has been sent for postmortem after inquest proceedings were started.

Opposition PDP leader and local MLA Abdul Razaq Zawoora demanded a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

“Some vested interests are hell-bent on disrupting peace and Bhat’s death is a component of that conspiracy which must be probed from all angles to contain this unwanted bloodshed in Kashmir,” he said.

Meanwhile,ruling out foul play in Bhat’s death,a police spokesman claimed he was critically injured after he fell from the tanker while repairing it.

“He (Bhat) was shifted to a local hospital from where he was referred to Srinagar hospital for further treatment. However,he died on the way,” the spokesman said,adding that a case has been registered at Shopian Police Station in this regard.

Bhat’s body was handed over to his family for last rites after postmortem,he said.

Ruling National Conference MLC Mohammad Yusuf Taing,who is the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council,also demanded an immediate inquiry into Bhat’s death.

“The culprits must be brought to book immediately,” he said.

Expressing his sympathy with the bereaved family,Taing also demanded due compensation be released in their favour.

State Secretary of CPI (M) Mohmmad Yousuf Tarigami also expressed grief over Bhat’s death and termed the incident ‘unfortunate’.

“This unfortunate incident has created uncertainty and triggered protests in the area. To clear the confusion of the people,a magisterial probe should be ordered and the facts brought before the people,” Tarigami said.

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