Baramulla tense over youth’s killing, probe ordered (Roundup)

February 11th, 2012 - 10:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Feb 11 (IANS) Tension persisted in Kashmir’s Baramulla district Saturday following the death of a 25-year-old youth in a firing incident late Friday. His family and villagers finally agreed to bury the body after the state government ordered a probe and the army expressed regret over the killing.

Daylong protests continued in Laisar (Rafiabad) village of Baramulla district where the youth, identified as Ashiq Hussain Rather, was killed when 32 Rashtriya Rifles began a cordon and search operation in the village following a tip-off about the presence of guerrillas.

Traffic on the Baramulla-Kupwara road remained suspended for the day as protesters blocked the road, demanding those responsible for the youth’s death be brought to justice.

Langate legislator Engineer Rashid was among the protesters, demanding action against the guilty.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who termed the incident unfortunate, Saturday said he had sent Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda to visit the place.

“We have to find out the exact circumstances that led to the youth’s death. It has to be found out whether the standard operating procedure (SOP) was followed by the troops during the operation in the area,” Abdullah said.

“I have sent my MOS (minister of state) home and the DGP to visit the place. I would not be able to confirm right now whether I would be going to the village today or not.”

“I would definitely like to go and visit the bereaved family, it has to be ensured that my visit does not heighten the tensions in the area,” Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.

Besides Wani and Khoda, 15 Corps Commander Lt. Gen. S.A. Hasnain, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) S.M. Sahai, Baramulla District Magistrate Bashir Ahmad Bhat and other senior civil, police and army officers also went to the village to condole the death of the youth.

After assurances from Wani and other senior officers that an enquiry would be swiftly completed into the youth’s death, the family agreed to bury his body in the village graveyard.

Lt. Gen. Hasnain regretted the incident and condoled the bereaved family along with some other senior army officers.

Bhat told reporters that the GOC had accepted that the death of the youth had occurred due to accidental firing by the Rashtriya Rifles troops.

On behalf of the chief minister, Wani promised the family a government job and an ex gratia compensation of Rs.500,000.

Syed Imtiyaz Hussain, superintendent of police (Sopore), said earlier Saturday the Rashtriya Rifles had accepted the youth was killed in accidental firing.

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