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Boy death blame on army

Srinagar, Oct. 10: Thousands of protesters blocked the Srinagar-Baramullah National Highway this morning alleging that the army had gunned down a student near Pattan yesterday.

Residents of villages around Pattan came to Palhallan and staged a sit-in on the highway. They alleged that a student of Class X was shot late yesterday afternoon by security forces.

However, a senior police spokesman in Srinagar denied the claim. “Militants fired on a security force camp at Yadipora Pattan. The fire was returned and in the exchange of fire, a boy identified as Riyaz Ahmad Dar sustained injuries and later succumbed,” he said.

The villagers, who rushed in droves to Palhallan last evening after news of Riyaz’s death spread, shouted pro-freedom and religious slogans as they blocked traffic on the highway. They also demanded that Riyaz’s body be handed over to them.

The security forces, however, refused. Riyaz’s relatives, who sat on a dharna on the highway till late at night, dispersed later and were joined this morning by villagers from nearby areas.

The body was handed over this morning to the relatives who took out a procession carrying it. They continued to block traffic on the highway.

The Baramullah district magistrate along with the district police chief rushed to Palhallan and assured the villagers of strict action against those involved in the incident. “We have registered a case and we will investigate. If anyone is found guilty, we will take action,” the district magistrate told the villagers.

The officers also persuaded the villagers to return home. Riyaz’s body was taken to Yedipora village where it was buried this afternoon. The villagers told the officials that security forces had been harassing them for the past several days after a pet dog went missing last week.

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