One State: Two Killings, Two Fates

Bilal Handoo

SRINAGAR

women walling near the body of  of civilian who killed in an encounter at Redwani bala south kashmir of kulgam district on Monday 22 June 2015 PHOTO BY BILAL BAHADUR
Asif Rashid Tantary. Pic: Bilal Bahadur

This week started with a bang in Jammu and Kashmir. Multiple news of death was doing rounds in both the capitals of the state. In Jammu province like in Kashmir, a youth was shot dead by government forces. But shortly the fate in twin killings took entirely different course of action, much to the annoyance of the larger public perception.

In Domana belt of Jammu, police fired a youth, Tarseem Lal, involved in narcotics smuggling when he tried to escape. The killing evoked a sharp reaction with Panthers party demanding an immediate action in the murder case. As the heat started building up, Forest Minister and MLA of Domana Bali Bhagat visited the youth’s family and promised a stern action on war-footing.

Bali, as per the reports, shortly spoke to JK DGP K Rajendra. And soon the action ensued when murder case was registered against the five policemen of Special Operation Group (SOG), who were shortly arrested.

Some 70km from summer capital on the same day in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, Asif Rashid Tantary, 24, fell to the bullets, a day before he was supposed to get engaged. His murder shattered his ailing parents and three sisters.

While the family as well as the locals termed Tantary’s killing a “cold-blooded murder” besides a “target killing”, police claimed the death resulted due to “stray bullet”.

“Asif was shot dead from a point blank range by government forces at 7am near his house when he ventured out to call his mother who had gone to a neighbour’s place,” his relatives said.

The killing happened when a few youth were pelting stones on government forces who had laid cordon around at Redwani Bala village, where two local militants and a joint party of police and army were engaged in a gunfight. “As they (forces) spotted Asif, they directly shot at him, resulting in his on the spot death,” Muhamad Amin Tantray, uncle of the slain youth was quoted as saying.

Shortly after the killing, a senior police officer said the investigation has been taken up to ascertain how the civilian was killed. “But it seems he was killed by a stray bullet,” he said. A magisterial probe has also been ordered, termed an “eyewash” by the locals.

Interestingly, in this case, nobody from the ‘healing touch brigade’ visited the family. There was just a condemnation from the party that has represented the belt and is now governing the state.

Barely 24 hours later the killings, many in Kashmir are silently simmering over the two different fates of two killings in one state. Perhaps, a different yardstick continue to exist in state that measures pain and loss differently.

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