With the curfew continuing in three districts in South Kashmir, where protesters clashed with the police and the separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani issuing a fresh shutdown calendar over the death of five persons in Shopian, the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet on Thursday ordered removal of the controversial Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) camp.
The Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, according to authoritative sources, ordered replacement of the CRPF camp at Gagran, Shopian, by a contingent of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police. The Cabinet was displeased and concerned over the fact that the police leadership was groping in the dark with regard to the identity of one of the four persons killed in the September 7 shootout.
Dismayed over the fact that there was “no clarity on the facts of the case even after five days of the incident”, the Cabinet asked Director-General of Police Ashok Prasad to ensure that the person killed in the CRPF firing at Gagran t must be identified “within the next 48 hours.” “A judicial enquiry, to be conducted by a sitting judge of the High Court, may be ordered thereafter in case the facts are not established”, an official release later said.
Divisional Commissioner Shailendar Kumar has simultaneously appointed Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate of Shopian Bashir Ahmad Bhat as the enquiry officer for the purpose of investigating the circumstances that led to the death of four persons on September 7 and one more person on September 11.
Even as the Police clarified that three of the four persons killed on September had no militant or subversive records, it suspected that the fourth person as none other than the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s most wanted Pakistani commander Abdullah Haroon. It claimed to have seized from the spot one pistol, two hand grenades, a diary and a cellphone with Pakistani and Indian SIM cards—claiming that it also contained video footage of the two recent militant attacks in which Haroon and his associates shot dead two personnel and decamped with their guns in Kulgam area.
Mr. Geelani has asked people to stage demonstrations against the Shopian killings after the Friday prayers and observe complete shutdown on Saturday and Sunday.
On Thursday, demonstrators clashed with the police and the CRPF at some places. At Redwani, one Amir Lone was hit by a rubber bullet in his neck. He was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar. DIG South Kashmir Vijay Kumar maintained that rubber bullets were fired when a violent crowd attacked the camp of Special Operations Group of the J&K Police.