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Police probe Pulwama boy’s death as family blames forces

The police have started an inquiry into the death of a minor boy from Pulwama, who allegedly committed suicide hours after his “brief detention and beating” by the Army in the wake of a grenade blast in the area.

“It’s a case of suicide; we have started an inquest proceeding,” said Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Chandan Kohli. “The matter was taken up with the Army after the family’s allegations. However, the Army has denied any such incident,” he added.

The victim, Yawar Ahmad Bhat, who the family said was just 15 and a Class 10 student, “apparently consumed rat poison” on the evening of September 17 at his home in Chandgam area.

“Yawar was picked up by the Army during the day when he was on the way to Pulwama town,” said the victim’s uncle Gulzar Ahmad Bhat. “His identity card was also snatched. The previous night there was a grenade attack on the security forces in Pulwama’s Tahab area. Yawar consumed poison on Tuesday evening and breathed his last on September 19,” he added.

“He was weak at heart,” said the victim’s cousin Rayees Ahmad Bhat. “He was fearful that he would have to visit the Army camp again for his identity card,” Mr. Bhat claimed. “In fact, when we shifted him to the District Police Hospital, Pulwama, the doctors enquired if he has any history of physical trauma, as his kidneys were also damaged,” he added.

An Army spokesman asserted that the family’s allegations were “completely baseless”. “The boy was neither detained nor tortured in any manner.”

Suicide prevention helpline: Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health, Telephone: 011-4076 9002, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. -7.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 9:15:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-probe-pulwama-boys-death-as-family-blames-forces/article29478840.ece

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