Who killed Hurriyat leader Sheikh Aziz?

August 23rd, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 23 (IANS) National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan’s reported briefing to the union cabinet that Kashmiri separatist leader Sheikh Aziz was not killed by a police bullet has been dismissed in the valley with both police and doctors saying that no investigation was done to establish how exactly he died. Leader of the Mirwaiz-led separatist Hurriyat Conference Sheikh Aziz was killed Aug 11 while leading a huge ‘Muzaffarabad Chalo’ protest march to Pakistan-administered Kashmir over the alleged “economic blockade” by protesters in Hindu-dominated Jammu.

His killing gave a frenzied twist to the land row agitation in the Kashmir Valley, which soon took on a separatist colour.

According to doctors at the SMHS hospital here, “bullet-injured Aziz was brought to the hospital with protruding intestines on Aug 11″.

“He (Aziz) was brought dead. We couldn’t conduct any post mortem because the body was soon taken by an angry mob for funeral,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity to IANS.

The doctor said the bullet had “pierced through Aziz’s body and even forensic experts cannot say what kind of bullet hit him”.

“The bullet had entered the left side of his back and left from the right side,” said the doctor who said he had seen Aziz’s body.

Narayanan, according to media reports, has told the union cabinet that investigations have established that the bullet that killed Aziz wasn’t fired by security forces trying to prevent the protest marchers from moving forward, implying that he may have been killed by people trying to stoke trouble.

However, according to sources, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has not initiated any investigation into any recent killings in Kashmir, include Aziz’s.

“We have just lodged FIRs (First Information Reports) and detailed investigations would be launched soon,” said a police officer.

Narayanan’s disclosure, if true, would be another whodunit in Kashmir’s political murder mysteries.

On May 21, 1990, militants of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen allegedly assassinated Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq, father of Hurriyat chairman Omar Farooq. And on May 21, 2002, militants shot dead Abdul Ghani Lone, father of Sajjad Lone, another separatist leader during the death anniversary of the late Mirwaiz.

Pro-Pakistan outfits have blamed the Indian intelligence agencies for both the political killings.

A newspaper editor said here: “Pakistan-backed separatists have been using the tool of political killing to stoke anti-India passions in the valley. But I am not sure if Aziz’s death falls in that category.”

Aziz’s colleagues in the separatist camp have also refused to buy Narayanan’s disclosure.

“Nobody is going to believe this (Narayanan’s) theory. He was killed in police and paramilitary firing and I am an eyewitness to that,” said Shabir Shah, who was alongside Aziz while leading the march Aug 11.

“Aziz fell to the forces’ bullets in front of senior administrative and police officials,” Shah told IANS.

“District commissioner Baseer Khan and district police chief B. Sreenivas were there and even they know who killed Aziz,” Shah said, adding that Narayanan’s disclosure was aimed at creating a split in the separatist camp.

Even though Shah claims to be an eyewitness, the police official IANS spoke to said there was “no clear account” of the firing during the Aug 11 separatists’ march to cross the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

However, Aziz’s death and that of other civilians in alleged police firing has turned out to be a rallying point for separatists in their anti-India tirade during the past two weeks.

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