In two separate incidents in valley this week, glimpses of violent scenes of nineties flashed back. First the youth duo of Irfan Ahmad Ganai and Tariq Ahmad were allegedly killed by Army in Sumbal area on June 30 and then, militant trio were gunned down by government forces in an encounter in Tral area.
Family of one of the youth, Irfan Ahmad Ganaie, said that Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh, who claimed to be only eyewitness in the case, was actually a co-conspirator in his killing.
Manzoor was on Tuesday detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police for questioning after he claimed that ‘army was present in the area on Sunday morning when the young man was killed outside his house’.
Speaking to a local news agency, Irfan’s cousin Nasir Ahmad Ganaie said, “at around 12 o’clock that night, a few (private) vehicles appeared in the village. People took it for burglars and shouted at them. The vehicles left the village and at around 3am, they appeared again and we all were scared when we heard some scary noises outside,” Nazir said. “Irfan went outside. He soon came under the gaze of flood lights and we clearly saw Sheikh carrying a weapon in his hand.’’
The family further said that Sheikh made the army believe that Irfan was a militant.
“Sheikh and army personnel fired upon Irfan and killed him instantly. Sheikh is misleading media that he was in the vehicle. We are the eyewitness of Irfan’s killing and it was Manzoor who shot at Irfan first,” he said, adding that police must interrogate him.
Separately, higher education minister Mohammad Akbar Lone, who represents the area in state legislative assembly, said Sheikh had fired on Ganai. “Manzoor used army for his nefarious designs as few days ago the Army source had a brawl with Irfan’s neighbours.”
He said the army was equally responsible for this killing as it had equipped Sheikh with a weapon, which he used to allegedly kill Ganai. “The army had violated all norms by not informing local police that they were going to lay a siege around Markundal.”
Meanwhile, protest demonstrations and funerals in absentia were held across the Valley after Friday prayers for the duo youth.