Jobs @ MG
Valley tense after Army kills protesters
By a correspondent in Srinagar
|The valley is still unable to come out
of the shock after the serial firing of the troops on the peaceful
protesters. Five people were killed by the army in Haigam in Baramulla
district on 15 february when it opened fire on peaceful protesters
protesting against the custody death of Jaleel Ahmad Shah, a medical shop
owner. According to the police version Jaleel Ahmad Shah was a hizbul
Mujahideen militant. But locals refuse this charge and say that he was a
member of the non-militant organization JKLF.
One person died on the spot while three others including a women and her
daughter, succumbed to the injuries in a local hospital. Shah’s sister
and three other women were among the severely injured people. Seven people
with fatal head injuries were shifted to a hospital. Members of shah’s
family and people from Haigam and adjoining Badgam, Tarzoo and other
villages took to the streets with the shopkeepers bullet ridden body as
soon as it was handed over to them on 15 February. The demonstrators were
demanding action against the Army and Special Operation Group who had
arrested him a few days ago.
Next day a teenager was killed in Maisuma while protesting against the
killing of the trader and the five protesters who were killed in Haigam.
The police and the BSF had total control of the situation when the
incident happened in Maisuma. The man who opened fire is reported to be
from the military intelligence and the police arrested him immediately and
an FIR was lodged against him.
But people were amazed to see the story being changed totally. Within
hours the entire story was changed and the police chief AK Suri denied any
armyman being arrested. A police officer is reported to have told media
persons that ‘ At times one has to close his eyes in national interests.
The police seems to have not learnt any lessons from these two incidents
in succession and when people protested against the killing in Haigam and
Maisuma the police opened fire once again on 17 February on the protesters
in Srinagar injuring two persons.
People everywhere in the Valley have protested the killing of the innocent
people by the Army personnel. The whole Valley reacted positively on the
call given by the Hurriyet Conference. All the markets and educational
institutions remained closed in the Kashmir valley for consecutive two
days. Meanwhile all the leaders of the Hurriyet Conference have been put
under house arrest by the local administration.
In the meantime a police officer Khurshid Ahmad Khan who survived the
Army’s firing on a protest rally in which five persons were killed has
lodged an FIR against the Armymen, including the Army officers. The report
says that ‘the armymen led by an officer of the 29 Rashtriya Rifles went
berserk though there was no provocation from the protesting villagers, who
had blocked the national highway at Haigam. Though Khan has not mentioned
the officer’s name but he says that he can recognize the officer who
resorted to firing on the mob and also ordered his men to fire.
Khan says in his FIR that he was persuading demonstrators to allow the
Rashtriya Rifles convoy that had come to regulate the protests to smoothly
pass. Khan says he requested the Army officer to wait for a few minutes,
‘but the officer did not listen to anything.’
Meanwhile the Hurriyet conference has vocally condemned the killing of the
innocent people by the Army. Hurriyet Conference chief Abdul Ghani Bhat
says that, ‘calling ceasefire after cease-fire is meaningless unless it
is translated at the ground level and strengthened by more initiatives to
take it forward. The custodial killing and firing on peaceful
demonstrators will only evoke a pungent reaction from the public.’
Meanwhile the Army arguably for the first time in the Valley has accepted
the responsibility for killing innocent people in the firing. A army
spokesman has said that the army committed mistake when few of its men
opened fire on the angry protesters. q