Residents of Dadina and other villages in Budgam district demand judicial inquiry into the circumstance that led to her death

Curfew has been re-imposed in a vast area of the Central Kashmir’s Budgam district following massive outrage over the death of a woman after a policeman allegedly hit her on the head.

Official sources said that curfew was re-imposed on Saturday, after two days of calm at the district headquarters of Budgam even as over two dozen villages had been reeling under curfew without break since the outbreak of a sectarian hostility last week.

Sources said that heavy deployments of J&K Police, Army, CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB froze the movement of traffic completely from Budgam to Dadina, Bemina, Wadwan and Wahabpora villages. Concertina wires have been put at the barricades at all crossings.

Fifty-seven-year old Fatima, who had been critically injured after a policeman allegedly hit her on the head with his AK-47 rifle on July 23, 2013, was declared dead at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura early on Saturday. Ms. Fatima, who was on double life support, was declared dead at 12.45 a.m.

Officials told The Hindu that the post mortem was conducted by a team of doctors at Aga Syed Yousuf Memorial District Hospital of Budgam. The body was later handed over to the family.

However, for several hours, the residents declined to carry out the funeral. Residents of Dadina and other villages in Budgam district have demanded a judicial inquiry into the circumstance that led to her death, registration of murder case against the policeman, his suspension and arrest. They have submitted an application to Budgam SP Mohammad Irshad.

Mr. Irshad told The Hindu that identification of the suspect could take “some time” and he would be booked by name in the FIR. . “It will take us some time to identify the cop who actually hit her in the head. Law will take its course”, he said. “This type of vague FIR against unknown persons is not acceptable to us”, the residents asserted. They alleged that the police was also behind the “total media blackout” of the woman’s death.

It was during a clash between the two groups that Ms. Fatima and 50 other women, who were over 500 meters away from the trouble spot, were allegedly assaulted and roughed up by a police party. According to the residents, a police party headed by a former Station House of Budgam, who is now actually posted in some other district, reached Dadina only to provide protection to 15 trucks and tippers of a brick kiln owner. The industrialist has allegedly supplied bricks free of cost for the construction of the former SHO’s house. “There are 50 eyewitnesses to it. Head constable Bashir was in the front of the gun-totting policemen who attacked the women. He has hit Fatima’s head with his AK-47 rifle”, Mohammad Hussain and others said. They said the police were shielding the culprits and refusing to register FIR on the eyewitness account.

“If they don’t want to register FIR on their own men, let the government order a time-bound judicial inquiry,” the residents asserted.