Jammu & Kashmir: 16-year-old student drowns, finger at police
The family of a 16-year-old student, who reportedly left home on Friday to play cricket but died by drowning while being chased by police, has blamed the security forces for his death.
Local residents said Shabar Ali Mir, who used to stay in Srinagar’s Lawaypora, and a few other youths jumped into Sukhnag stream on Friday during stone pelting to avoid arrest.
Shabar’s elder brother Shabir Ali, who is a trainee reporter at a news portal, tweeted on Friday night: “They (forces) even shot some shells onto them within that water body. Didn’t let them come out of the water. He (his brother) didn’t know how to swim, ultimately drowned.”
Irshad Hussain, Shabar’s cousin, said the boy was fasting and had gone to nearby Kawoosa village in Budgam to play cricket.
“He was chased away by govt forces, and was drowned in Nallah Sukhnag, in Kawoosa. He went there for a cricket match,” Hussain, also a reporter, wrote on his social media handle.
Locals said there were protests in Kawoosa village on Friday against the killing of militant commander Mohammad Yousuf Kantroo, which led to clashes with the security forces.
Kantroo was a resident of Kawoosa and died fighting the security forces on Thursday along with three other militants. He was the longest surviving militant in the Valley and was involved in a series of high-profile killings.
Masroor Abbas Ansari, who led Shabar’s funeral on Friday evening, said some half-a-dozen youths jumped into the stream as they feared being caught for pelting stones.
“These boys were encircled and were not allowed to escape. He (Shabar) did not know swimming and asked for help,” Ansari, who heads the separatist-cum-religious organisation Itihad ul Muslimeen, told The Telegraph.
He said some people came to Shabar’s rescue but they faced tear gas shells, forcing them to flee. The Police did not allow anybody to rescue him and that is how he drowned, Ansari added.
Ansari said Shabar was a student of Class XI.
A police spokesman said they had “reliably learnt” that the boy died by drowning, without going into the details.
“The body was fished out from the stream by local residents and was taken to his native place for last rites. Budgam police are enquiring into the circumstances that lead to the drowning of the individual,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman was silent over reports that there was stone pelting in the area.
Police routinely downplay incidents of stone pelting and claim they have dropped by as much as 90 per cent since the scrapping of the special status in 2019. Tough action is initiated against social media handles that publicise such incidents.