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J&K: Parties Protest Against Death of Three Civilians

Following the outcry, the government has announced compensation for each victim.

Srinagar: Political parties in Kashmir held a protest on Saturday against the deaths of three civilians after they were allegedly picked up by the army for questioning in the aftermath of a deadly attack in Poonch on Thursday.

Following the outcry, the government has announced compensation for each victim.  “The medico-legal formalities were conducted, and the appropriate authority has initiated legal action. The government has announced compensation for each of the deceased. Further Government has also announced compassionate appointments to the next of kin of each deceased,” the Information and PR department of J&K wrote on X.

The demand for compensation was made by the president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti who also urged the LG administration to look into the matter and order a probe into the killings, she alleged,  was a result of “extreme torture”.

“LG Admn should pay Rs 50 lakh to the family of the deceased until they receive justice. Moreover, to convey a powerful message that would act as a deterrent in the future, also provide relief and five lakh to the injured,” Mehbooba said during a presser.

Mufti said that 15 individuals from the Topa Pir village in Buflaiz were reportedly arrested by the army for questioning following the attack.

At least five Indian Army soldiers were killed in the attack carried out by militants in the border district near Dera Ki Gali in the Bafliaz area of the Pir Panjal valley.  The authorities have launched a massive hunt to track the attackers and meanwhile suspended mobile internet services in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri.

Workers from various political parties in Srinagar carried out protests after reports of the deaths of three civilians allegedly picked up by the army from Topa Pir village, about 10 km from the attack site, surfaced. According to eye-witnesses, the victims were picked up Friday morning along with many others for questioning. At least five others, the locals believe, are being treated at a hospital for grievous injuries, they claimed were inflicted during the alleged interrogation.  

The victims were identified as Safeer Hussain (44), Mohd Showket (22) and Shabir Ahmad (32) of Topa Pir village of Bufliaz. The locals said that last rites were carried out in the afternoon in the midst of their shocked families and neighbourhood. Safeer is survived by his four children including a daughter.  

Political parties including Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) and Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari held protests - raised slogans - at their respective headquarters against the deaths and demanded action against the alleged perpetrators.

“I strongly condemn the killings of the innocent civilians and urge Home Minister Amit Shah to order an immediate investigation to bring to fore the facts to clear the mystery around these deaths and take strict action against the involved security forces, be it army or police,” Altaf Bukhari said in a statement.

Bukhari added that he was “ashamed” to see the viral pictures of the local people, where one can see the civilians being beaten “mercilessly”. “Unfortunately once again the people of J&K are being made sitting ducks for the security forces and I feel that we have not learnt anything from our past mistakes. Such incidents should not be tolerated at any cost,” he added.

Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami while condemning the deaths demanded a fair probe into the deaths. “A prompt and impartial probe is crucial to ascertain the cause of their death,” he said.

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