In Disbelief, Police Officer Saw His Nephew Being Shot Dead

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by Khalid Bashir Gura

SRINAGAR: A devastated and shattered night has descended for Shah family of Budgam as on a bright sunny day; the youngest member of the family was shot dead at a checkpoint allegedly for not stopping, the version rubbished by family.

Family of the slain young man, Mehrajuddin, mourning at their Makhama home in Beerwa. Din was shot dead by a CRPF man in Srinagar outskirts on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Ghulam Hassan Shah, uncle of the 22-year-old youth, Mehraj- ud -Din Shah who was shot dead by CRPF at Narbal allegedly for not stopping at two check posts refuted the official version that the CRPF men opened fire after the civilian’s vehicle jumped two checkpoints.

“It is a lie,” says Ghulam Hassan Shah in a shattered voice verging on tears. “I was with my nephew in the car. I saw him being fired at.”

As the vehicle was stopped by a Jammu and Kashmir Policeman at a checkpoint near Narbal, Shah who himself is a police officer told them that he has to report at the Police Control Room and he was already late and let them go. An Assistant Sub Inspector of police, he is posted at the PCR in Srinagar.

“I even showed my identity card. He signalled the CRPF man ahead of us,” Shah said, in a choked voice, on phone. “He gestured using his finger to the trooper. I couldn’t decipher what that meant.” While talking, Shah struggled to speak as the family is in mourning.

The trooper cocked his gun and we stopped. He shot through the front windshield shooting Mehraj in his shoulder. As Mehraj was injured and bleeding profusely he pleaded his uncle to take him to the hospital immediately.

Slain Mehraj ud Din Shah

There were no people around to hear the cries or pleas even though some private vehicles were plying.

“I went out of the vehicle and confronted the trooper who opened the fire. I told him – you have done a murder – and I was also seeking help to arrange a vehicle to take him to hospital,” Shah said.

As he was busy in his arguments with the CRPF personnel, life was gradually slipping out of Meraj as he was losing blood and consciousness. It was after some time a doctor in a car picked him up and drove them to SMHS Hospital where he was declared brought dead, Shah added.

Later the frail, old shoulders of father shouldered the coffin of the youngest son of the family. Mehraj’s body was handed over to the family in the evening and he was buried at the local graveyard in Makhama Beerwah, Shah added.

Mehraj’s father Ghulam Mohammad Shah is a retired employee of the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department. One of the slain boy’s elder brothers is a selection-grade constable in the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Meraj was running a Khidmat Centre in his locality and was the youngest of the seven siblings. He is survived by three brothers and three sisters along with his parents.

With a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Police personally witnessing the entire episode, the police have reiterated the version that the slain young man jumped two nakas. He told reporters that the car – a Wagon-R, was stationary when his nephew, who was in the driver’s seat, was shot at. He has also said that the official version about his nephew is wrong.

Here is what the police said in a statement.

“Today at about 1020 hrs, during Joint Naka at Khalisa Kawoosa in the jurisdiction of PS Magam, a Wagon-R vehicle bearing registration No JK02AK-6702 was signalled to stop. However, the said vehicle ignored to stop and fled away from two Naka points in suspicious condition.

Villagers protest against the killing of civilian Mehrajuddin Budgam on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The Naka party opened fire at the vehicle to thwart the attempt. The driver of the vehicle got injured in the incident and has been identified as Mehraj ud din Peer son of Ghulam Nabi Peer resident of Makhama Beerwah Budgam.

The injured was shifted to hospital for medical treatment; however, he succumbed to his injuries. Police have registered a case and started an investigation into the matter.”

The killing was condemned by all sections of the politics. Authorities said they have registered a case and the investigations have started.

Makhama village witnessed sort of mayhem as the entire village came to mourn the killing of a person. The scenes were pathetic and painful.

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