20-year-old shopkeeper killed in Valley
A 20-year-old shopkeeper, Shoaib Ahmad Ganaie, was killed in Shopian in Kashmir in what the family alleged was unprovoked firing by security forces, triggering protests in the area.
Shoaib’s elder brother Shahid Ahmad said he saw CRPF men killing his brother in unprovoked firing.
“My brother was performing Wuzu (cleaning for prayers) on the stream. They (CRPF men) came rushing towards him. He raised his hands up but they shot him dead,” Shahid said over the phone, claiming he saw the killing from some distance.
A police spokesman said militants fired upon a patrol of CRPF’s 182 battalion and SOG of Pulwama near the bridge connecting Litter of Pulwama district with Turkwangam of Shopian district.
“During exchange of fire between (militants) and our joint team, one civilian got injured,” a police spokesman said, adding that he died of his injuries in hospital.
But Shahid said: “The only firing I heard was that hit my brother. There was no firing before or after it. The CRPF men came in a civilian three-wheeler, which was loaded with chicken. They were apparently chasing some people.”
Shoaib is the second Kashmiri Muslim to be killed in the Valley in six days, with both families blaming security forces. The forces have blamed militants or crossfire.
A 19-year-old undergraduate student, Shahid Dar, was killed on Tuesday.
The killings have come at a time when hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits have been hitting the streets across Kashmir for the past four days against the killing of an employee, Rahul Bhat, in militant firing.
The BJP’s face of Kashmiri Pandits, Ashwini Chrungoo, on Sunday asked Pandit employees to seek relocation to Jammu as he hit out at his own government for doing little for the community.
Chrungoo took to Twitter to urge Pandit employees to stick to their demand for relocation to Jammu. “Pl stick to posting in Jammu region, it’s possible. J&K administration clarified that every individual can’t be provided security,” he wrote on Facebook.
Chrungoo later told this newspaper that the government was not only losing the faith of more and more Pandits but has failed to provide them security. He said the militancy in Kashmir was the same as it was three years back, contradicting the Centre which claimed the situation was improving.
“What Government of India is saying or not (is different), but what people are facing is terrorism and we have to first save people from terrorism,” he said.
“Kashmiri Pandits are trapped (due to PM package which gives Pandits jobs in the Valley on the condition that they will not again leave the place). (If people want Pandits to die), let government say that for Kashmiri Pandits to live in Kashmir, they have to give sacrifices. Let them say it openly,” he said.
Chrungoo said it took the government 16 years to post 5,800 Pandit employees.
“That means it will take them 350 years to bring back the community,” he said, saying regretfully the package was conceived by the Congress and continued by the BJP government at the Centre.