CRPF jawan, civilian killed in Sopore attack

A 3-year-old boy walks towards a securityman at the site of a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore on July 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: ANI

A CRPF soldier and a civilian were killed and three soldiers injured as militants started attacking from a mosque in north Kashmir’s Sopore on Wednesday.

A picture of a three-year-old boy sitting on his grandfather’s body at the site of the gunfight caused outrage in the Valley.

A CRPF spokesman told The Hindu that the militants, hiding in the attic of the mosque, fired at the personnel of the CRPF’s 179 Battalion around 7.30 a.m. “The personnel were de-boarding near Model Town Chowk, Sopore, Baramulla, for patrolling duties... Head Constable Deep Chand later died of his injuries,” the spokesman said.

The other injured were identified as Constables Bhoya Rajesh, Deepak Patil and Nilesh Chawde.

Inspector-General of Police Vijay Kumar said foreign militant Usman Bhai and local militant Adil, both of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, were involved in the attack. “Thirty bullets were fired. It was evident from a magazine recovered from the mosque premises. Another magazine recovered was full,” he said.

A civilian, identified as Bashir Ahmed Khan, 65, from Srinagar’s HMT area, was found dead near the site. Khan was with his three-year-old grandson in a vehicle when bullets hit him. “The civilian was hit by bullets. There was no retaliation from the security forces. In fact, the police rescued the boy, who was near the grandfather’s body,” Mr. Kumar said.

The family of Khan, however, blamed the security forces. “My father was brought down from the vehicle and shot dead by the security forces,” his daughter alleged. Mr. Kumar, however, denied the charge. “It is totally baseless. The son and the daughter have made these allegations under militant threat. If there is any eyewitnesses, let them come forward.”

Commenting on the picture, Mr. Kumar said, “I will ensure police teams going to operations don’t carry mobile phones along, as it poses a threat to their lives.”

Viral pictures

Hundreds of netizens reacted sharply to the picture of the boy, with blood stains, sitting on the body of his grandfather. A video shows the boy being offered biscuits by the police as he keeps insisting on seeing his parents.

The picture and the video, however, came in for criticism. “The three-year-old toddler has to have his misery broadcast to the whole world to drive home the ‘we good they bad’ message. We would have got the point without his misery being filmed and shared. Everything becomes a propaganda tool in the bloody violence of Kashmir,” National Conference (NC) vice-president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said.

Meanwhile, the NC and the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party demanded an impartial investigation into the circumstances that led to the killing of the civilian.

In Jammu’s Rajouri, the security forces foiled an infiltration bid near the Line of Control at Keri.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 1:37:55 AM |

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