Protests in Rafiabad over killing of youth

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Rafiabad (Baramulla): Protests over killing of a youth, Ashiq Hussain, allegedly by the Army, continued to rock this north Kashmir village on Saturday. Hussain, according to locals, was killed allegedly by the troops of 32-Rashtriya Rifles late last night. As the word about the killing spread locals took to the streets and staged night long protest.
Reports said more than one dozen people including policemen and para-military CRPF troopers were injured in the day-long protests. Locals had placed the body of Hussain on Baramulla-Kupwara road refusing to bury his body. They were demanding the arrest of the army soldiers allegedly involved in the killing and removal of the army camp in their area.
Police used batons and tear smoke canisters to disperse the protesters who in turn pelted stones on them. In the ding-dong battles, atleast 12 people received injuries, eyewitnesses said.
Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, GOC 15-Corps, Lt General Ata Hasnain, MLA Langate, Engineer Rasheed, Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda and other top officials rushed to the area to pacify the protesters.
Reports said Lt Gen Hasnain apologized family of the victim and people of the area on behalf of the Army. “He (Hasnain) accepted before the people that Hussain was an innocent. He also assured the people that frequent movement of the Army in the area would be restricted,” sources said.
They said company commander of D-Company 32-RR was transferred from the area on the instructions of the GOC.
Defence spokesman had in a statement said that troops of 32-RR and police had launched a joint operation following information about presence of militants in the area.
“Initial investigation of the incident revealed that on the basis of intelligence which indicated presence of terrorists in the village a column of 32-RR established a cordon near a group of houses. The presence of the Army created some panic in a house which led to an accidental discharge of a weapon in the hands of a RR soldier. The single bullet which was discharged hit one of the occupants of the house, Ashiq Hussian Rathar son of Muhammad Akbar who expired on the spot,” the statement said.
“The General Officer Commanding, Minister of State (Home), Jammu and Kashmir and the DGP met a delegation from the village and confirmed that the unfortunate death was by an accidental discharge of a weapon and consoled the family,” it added.
The Army spokesman claimed attempts at escalation of the situation by some elements were defused by the timely visit of the high ranking military, state and police officials admission of the innocence of the deceased and promise of necessary and timely compensation through ex gratia.
“The General Officer Commanding confirmed the institution of a military Court of Inquiry while the Minister of State (Home), Jammu and Kashmir promised a parallel Magisterial Inquiry to confirm the chain of events and measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents,” he added.
Police sources said that FIR number 06/2012 has been lodged against the accused in Police Station Dangiwacha.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Bashir Ahmad Bhat said that the body of Hussain was buried later in the afternoon. “Sub Divisional Magistrate who has been asked to probe the matter will give his report in one month. FIR has been lodged in the case,” he said.

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