Zulfikar Majid, April 18, 2015, Srinagar, DHNS:

State orders magisterial probe, 2 cops who fired at the protest rally held

Angry protesters throwstones at the police during clasheswhich erupted after the killing of a 16-year-old youth in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI

A 10th-standard student was killed and two others injured in Narbal in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district, 18 km from here, when the police fired at protesters during a strike called by the hardline Hurriyat faction on Saturday.

The J&K Police subsequently arrested two of its own personnel who had fired on a protest rally.

Immediately after the incident, the state government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, which came a day after the arrest of separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat.

Late on Saturday evening, the police said it had arrested two of its personnel after preliminary investigation revealed that Constable Javaid Ahmad fired his service rifle on the directions of police party in-charge Assistant Sub-Inspector Manzoor Ahmad in violation of the laid-down standard operating procedure (SOP).

“Further investigation is under way, and the station house officer at police station Magam, Inspector Khursheed, has been attached for lack of supervision,” said a police spokesperson in a late-evening statement.

While regretting the incident, the police said, “Preliminary enquiry indicates that the forces acted in violation of the laid-down SOP. Case FIR No 34/2015 under Section 302, 147, 149, 341 and 427 of the RPC has been registered.”

Eyewitnesses told Deccan Herald youngsters were protesting against Masarat’s detention when the police fired at them near Narbal Ghat.

The police said three persons were injured in the firing, with teenager Suhail Ahmad sustaining critical injuries. He was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar but died on the way.

Reports said as the news of Suhail’s death spread, protests and stone-pelting erupted in the adjoining areas. At least 10 persons were injured during the day-long clashes, which were continuing till the last reports came in.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a magisterial probe into the killing. “The additional deputy commissioner has been asked to probe the incident that led to the boy’s death. He has been asked to submit a report within 15 days,” Budgam Deputy Commissioner Mir Altaf Ahmad told reporters.

The strike had been called by Geelani to protest against the death of a youth reportedly during an encounter in the Tral area of south Kashmir earlier this week and the arrest of Hurriyat leaders, including Masarat.

Several other separatist leaders—including moderate Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq—were placed under house arrest on Saturday. The police said this was aimed at maintaining law and order.

This was the second consecutive day of protests in the state. On Friday, more than 24 people were injured as demonstrations were held in several places against Masarat’s arrest.

On Friday, Masarat was arrested on sedition charges from his home in the Habbakadal area of the old city, apparently after the Centre pushed for it. He was produced before a magistrate on Saturday, who sent him to police custody till April 23.