Srinagar, Aug. 20: Jammu and Kashmir police have filed a murder case against the CRPF for the death of a teenager, sparking a duel between the two forces at a time of raging street protests in the Valley.
The police claimed Mudassir Ahmad, 18, was killed when the CRPF opened fire on a mob in Sopore yesterday evening and he died early today, sparking fresh protests in the area. The central force has denied the charge and asserted that its personnel had only fired rubber pellets after being attacked with stones.
Although 62 civilians, including Mudassir and two more youths who died today, have lost their lives in alleged firing by security forces in the two-month unrest, it is rare for a murder case to be lodged against the personnel.
You have only a handful of cases like the death of two people in Sopore and another two in Anantnag where murder cases have been registered, a source said.
A police officer claimed the alleged CRPF firing in which Mudassir died was unprovoked. We have lodged an FIR under Section 302 RPC (murder) for killing the boy. There were no protests in the area and the firing was unprovoked, the officer said.
CRPF spokesperson Prabhakar Tripathi, however, alleged his personnel were attacked. One of them, assistant commandant S.K. Das, was hit with a bottle and was seriously injured. When the troopers were withdrawing, a mob pelted them with stones. A few minutes later, a broken glass bottle was thrown on the assistant commandant. That hit his neck and caused him serious wounds. But he asked his troops not to fire bullets and instead use pellets.
Tripathi even claimed it was only this morning that they were told that a boy (Mudassir) had died. We exercised maximum restraint despite provocation. We have not received any FIR as is being speculated.
The police officer, however, said the CRPF assistant commandant may have been injured in a separate incident.
In a separate incident, another youth was killed after the security forces allegedly opened fire at Bijbehara in south Kashmirs Anantnag today. The incident occurred after Friday prayers when people were protesting and raising pro-freedom slogans. A police spokesperson said a huge mob had attacked the Bijbehara police station. But residents alleged that the police had fired though the protests were peaceful.
The police used tear smoke shells and cane charge to disperse the mob but they did not relent. The miscreants tried to set the police station and the sub-divisional police officers chamber on fire by throwing petrol bombs, the police spokesperson said.