Even as police has registered a case and started an investigation into the killing of a civilian driver allegedly by army last night, agitated villagers in Kupwara district today remained adamant not to perform last rites of the deceased till a murder case is registered against the army soldiers responsible for this “inhuman act”.
Intense clashes broke out in the frontier district town of Kupwara this morning, following the killing of the civilian allegedly by army soldiers during an ambush laid by them in Thandipora village in the jurisdiction of police station Kralpora last night.
Raising pro-freedom and anti-government slogans, villagers of Thandipora took to streets this morning to protest the killing of the civilian identified as Asif Iqbal and demanded registration of a murder case against army, eyewitnesses said.
The government forces deployed in strength in the area fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
A senior police officer was injured in the clashes. The police officer was hit by a stone on his face and received a few stitches, officials said.
In order to pacify the agitators, police lodged an FIR in Kralpora police station this afternoon and said it has started investigations. “Police and civil administration will provide all help to the bereaved family”, a police spokesman said.
He said after completion of medico-legal formalities, the body of the deceased has been handed over to his legal heirs for last rites.
However, this has not satisfied the agitated villagers who insisted that a murder case under section 302 be registered against the army for this “inhuman act”.
The clashes spread to adjacent Batpora village when hundreds of people stopped the ambulance carrying the body of the deceased. They took custody of the body but refused to perform last rites till murder case is registered against the army.
Police said the army had laid an ambush at Thandipora village in Kupwara after they had received an input about the movement of militants.
Locals said that a sumo driver, Asif Iqbal, came out of his house to start his vehicle (registration NO JK05C 7608) as he wanted to ferry some patient to a hospital.
“As he came few yards from his house, the army fired at him, leaving him in pool of blood. He succumbed enroute to Srinagar at Sopore,” family of the deceased said.
Senior Superintendent of Police Kupwara, Shamsheer Hussain, confirming the killing of the civilian said it was a case of “mistaken identity”.
“As per army, soldiers had laid an ambush in the area. The sumo driver was asked to stop but he didn’t and was then shot by them”, the district police chief said.
Terming the incident as” very unfortunate and regrettable”, Hussain said “We will hold an enquiry into the matter and whosoever is guilty would be punished”.
He appealed people to cooperate with the authorities to know under what circumstances the army fired.” We request general public not to take law into their hands and cooperate with us,” the SSP said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the killing authorities have blocked internet services in the frontier district.