Locals Remember Faisal, Mehraj on First Anniversary; Shutdown, Clashes in Nowgam



A complete shutdown was observed in Nowgam and its adjacent areas in Srinagar on Tuesday to mark the first death anniversary of two local youth who were gunned down by Army while they along with their friends were on way to home after watching a Muharram procession in Chattergam area of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

On November 3, 2014, a patrol belonging to 53 Rashtriya Rifles opened ‘unprovoked’ fire on a white Maruti car near Chattergam. The occupants in the vehicle were five innocent teenagers from Nowgam locality returning to their home. Two youth Faisal Yousuf Bhat and Mehraj ud Din Dar died on spot, one managed to escape while two others Shakir Ahmed and Zahid Ahmed received serious wounds.  The incident sparked widespread protests across Kashmir forcing Army to admit it was a blunder. The probe investigated 14 army men but only four were found guilty of violating standard operating procedures.

All the shops, business establishments and educational institutions in Nowgam, Gulshan Nagar, Naik Bagh, Bonapora and Bypass remained shut while transport did not ply on these routes. A procession in which large number of females participated was taken out in the area that culminated peacefully. The protesters carrying banners and placards demanded stringent punishment to the guilty Army men.

Reports said scores of youth from various localities took to streets and amid pro-freedom slogans pelted stones on forces. The forces retaliated by firing tear-smoke shells. The clashes between the protesters and the forces continued for hours. The situation in the area remained tense throughout the day.

Muhammad Yousuf Bhat the father of one of the slain youth alleged that the forces lobbed tear-smoke shells in the premises of his house and didn’t allow mourners to offer prayers. (CNS)

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