Sopore: The death of a youth under ‘mysterious circumstances’ triggered protests in his native Sopore town and widespread outrage across Kashmir.
Police said that Irfan Ahmad Dar (23) son of Mohammad Akbar Dar of Sidiq-Colony Sopore was found dead on Wednesday hours after he escaped from its’ custody taking advantage of darkness during a search operation but victim’s family contested police claim and said that he was killed during custody.
Irfan was arrested on Tuesday afternoon on charges of giving shelter to a militant in his home around ten days ago, police said- a charge vehemently denied by the family.
Massive protests erupted in Sopore town soon after youth’s body was found near a stone quarry in Tujar area, around 9 Kms from his native Sopore town.
His family demanded impartial probe into his death and stern action against guilty.
“Footage of CCTV cameras installed at our home will come handy in an imprtail probe. I am ready to face any punishment, if anything subversive was found,” said Dar’s brother.
He (Dar’s brother) was also under detention for some hours before he was let off following a health condition.
“I was released at 11 P.M on Tuesday. My family was asked to take me home after my health condition worsened during police custody.” he added.
Irfan Dar, was arrested at 12:45 hours, and his brother around 4 P.M on Tuesday on the charges of providing shelter to a militant at their home.
“A few civilians accompanied police during raid of our house. Police claimed a militant hid in our house ten days ago, which is completely false information. We requested them check the CCTV footage to satisfy themselves,” said a family member.
“Contrary to police claim, no recovery of ammunition was made during the raid,” he added.
2 Chinese grenades recovered from OGW: Police
In a statement, Police said that on September 15, at about 12:45 hours, “one OGW namely Irfan Ahmad Dar (Age about 23/24 years) S/O Mohammad Akbar Dar R/O Sidiq-Colony, Sopore was apprehended and two Chinese Hand Grenades were recovered from his possession.”
In this regard, a case (FIR No. 257/2020) U/S 18 ULA (P) Act, 7/27 A. Act was registered in Police Station Sopore and investigation taken up.
“During the course of investigation, a Police Team visited Chairdaji area of Tujjar-Sharief along with OGW for effecting some more recovery on the disclosure of the OGW,” the police said, adding,
“In the meanwhile, the OGW while taking advantage of darkness and terrain managed to escape. A separate Case FIR No. 71/2020 U/S 224 IPC was registered in Police Station Bomai. During search the body of OGW was found near stone quarry of Tujjar-Sharief.”
Accordingly, the police said the body was taken to the nearby PHC, wherefrom shifted to PCR Kashmir Hospital for “fulfilling medical and other legal formalities and final disposal.”
Meanwhile, mainstream parties demanded a through probe into the death of youth even as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed the youth’s death as “custodial murder.”
“This excruciating episode has once again served as a grim reminder of how truth is mangled and stories are fabricated to justify killing innocent civilians in Jammu and Kashmir,” a spokesman of the PDP said.
In a statement issued here, the spokesman said that in order to justify its “repressive, unconstitutional, inhuman and extremely violent measures upon the people of Kashmir”, all the government of India needs is a “militancy narrative”.
“The armed forces in Kashmir have been given absolute impunity to detain, torture or kill innocent people and that is how the old blooded murder of 23 yr old Irfan Ahmed Dar, a shopkeeper by profession wrongfully accused of being an OGW, has occurred,” he said, adding, “The wounds inflicted upon the families of those Kashmiris who recently were killed by the forces of Shopian were still fresh and the government has perpetuated yet another act of terror upon an innocent civilian of Kashmir.”
National ConferenceVice President, Omar Abdullah expressed outrage over the killing and sought a time-bound probe into the “circumstances leading to the death.”
“There were contrasting versions of the circumstances, leading to the killing of the young man, “who the police are claiming had escaped from their hold during a search operation.”
“The family of the deceased has a different view, necessitating for an impartial and time-bound inquiry into the circumstances leading to his killing.”
“The administration cannot possibly win back the confidence of the people, if encounters like Shopian or suspicious killings like the one that has taken place in Sopore continue to take place incessantly, or are allowed to pass without the facts being established and guilty, when determined fully punished,” he said.
He urged the Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha, to personally ensure that the circumstances behind the “mysterious killing” of the young man are brought to light and guilty, “if any”, dealt stringently under law.
Omar said that such incidents have no place in a civilized society and that honor and dignity of life should be respected at any cost. He also said such incidents would only add to the ever increasing gulf of mistrust between the government and the people.
Apni Party headed by Altaf Bukhari demanded a high level probe into the “circumstances surrounding the death of the youth).’
In a statement, Javid Baig, spokesman of Apni Party demanded that the government must constitute an inquiry into the incident in order to ascertain the veracity of contradictory claims made by police and family of the deceased youth.”