Srinagar: The family of Peer Mehraj ud din, who was killed by CRPF personnel in Narbal area of central Kashmir's Budgam district on Wednesday, refuted the claim that the victim fled any security checkpost and alleged that he was killed without any provocation.
A resident of Beerwah village of Budgam, 25-year-old Mehraj, was travelling in a private vehicle with his uncle Ghulam Hassan Shah, an ASI in J&K Police, when he was shot by CRPF on Srinagar-Gulmarg highway. He was later shifted to a hospital in Srinagar where doctors declared him brought dead.
In its statement, the CRPF said the victim was hit by warning shots fired by CRPF party manning the checkpost fearing "sabotage".
The CRPF in its statement alleged that Mehraj, who was travelling in a Wagon R, jumped a checkpoint of J&K police and sped towards another checkpoint manned by C/141 Bn CRPF and fled when an Army convoy was moving.
“This civil car was driving in the wrong direction of the road and that was even more alarming. When the car didn’t stop, despite warning shots, the jawan fired at the car and in turn, the driver was hit on his left shoulder," the statement said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police in its statement echoed CRPF version alleging Mehraj was signalled to stop but fled from two Naka points following which the Naka party opened fire. According to the police, an FIR has been registered in the incident.
Mehraj's uncle Shah, who witnessed the incident, however, says they did not jump any checkpoint and the CRPF personnel fired at Mehraj without any provocation and the car was in fact not moving at that time.
“The traffic from both directions was plying on only one side of the road as another side was blocked by the forces. The policeman at first Naka allowed us to go and gestured towards the CRPF man on second Naka a few metres ahead. I couldn't understand what that gesture was about. This CRPF man suddenly pointed a gun at us. We stopped the car and he opened fire at my nephew who was driving the car,” Shah told NewsClick.
Terming the CRPF version as a "blatant lie", Shah said that he fought with the CRPF man who opened fire on Mehraj asking him why he had killed his nephew. He claimed that they were not able to move from the spot for about half an hour until a doctor in his private vehicle passed by and was stopped by an Army personnel following which Mehraj was shifted to the hospital.
Following the killing, clashes and stone pelting incidents broke out in Budgam areas where protesters carried out demonstrations while raising "pro-freedom" slogans. Many were injured during the protests as police and CRPF fired tear gas smoke and pellet shots to disperse the protesters. The authorities snapped mobile internet services across Budgam district as a "precautionary measure".
The killing drew sharp criticism from across Kashmir while mainstream political parties demanded a probe against the killing of Mehraj.
“Very unfortunate. The circumstances surrounding this shooting need to be impartially investigated & findings made known. My condolences to the family of the deceased," former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.
CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami termed Mehraj's killing as "reckless" which must be investigated in a time bound, impartial manner and responsibility be fixed so that guilty is punished under law.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed the killing as "a cold-blooded murder" while demanding stern action against those involved in the incident.
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