Kashmir firing: Police suspend ASI as Mehbooba Mufti demands time-bound inquiry
New Delhi: A day after three persons were killed in army firing in Handwara town, the Jammu and Kashmir Police today suspended Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Rafeeq Ahmed for opening fire on a mob protesting against an alleged case of molestation.
The two youths, identified as Nayeem Ahmad Bhat and Mohammad Iqbal, were killed yesterday after forces opened firing on unruly protesters over the incident. The third victim, Raja Begum, 54, who was admitted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar, succumbed to a critical bullet injury this morning.
An order to this effect issued by the office of the District Magistrate, Kupwara, directs local authorities to write to the army for removal of its bunker situated at Main Chowk Handwara within a period of one month.
The decision was taken during a meeting which was attended by Principal Secretary (Home Dept., J&K Govt), Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Principal Private Secretary to Chief Secretary of the state and Senior Superintendent of Police, Kupwara/Handwara.
The order further states that a lenient view will be taken against the protesters in the general FIR as nobody has been nominated in the FIR, it reads, adding that disciplinary action will be taken against erring police officials under the law.
Meanwhile, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is on her maiden visit to the national capital after assuming charge of the top post, sought a time-bound inquiry into the incident from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Describing the firing incident as very unfortunate, she said, "I spoke to the Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. At the same time the family (of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future."
The incident took place after reports surfaced that some army personnel had allegedly molested a girl returning from school. However, police investigations have so far indicated that no such incident had taken place and it was an attempt by some miscreants to create disturbance for removing an army bunker located within Handwara town.
Army has ordered an inquiry while the police registered a criminal case and begun investigations into the incident which triggered more protests and had an echo in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Kashmir as well.
Mehbooba said such incidents shake the confidence of the people and adversely impact the efforts of the State government in consolidating peace dividends.