Jammu & Kashmir: Teenager's killing triggers protests
By Gowhar Bhat
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India, (GK News Network):
A day after the teenager was killed in police action here in old city, massive protests and clashes rocked summer capital on Monday.
At least 35 persons, including nine policemen and six paramilitary CRPF men, were injured in the ding dong battles that continued throughout the day.
The deceased teenager was identified as Wamiq Farooq Wani, 14, son of Farooq Ahmad Wani of Chana Mohalla, Rainawari late in the night. His body was brought home from Police Control Room, Srinagar around mid-night on Sunday. In the morning, when the word about his killing spread in the area, youth took to the streets and staged massive pro-freedom and anti-police demonstrations and blocked roads by burning tyres and placing boulders.
The protests spilled over to Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal and Iddgah as hundreds of people, mainly youth, took his body in a procession for funeral prayers to Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta.
A large number of people, including chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik, JKLF (R) leaders, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Javaid Ahmad Mir, Firdous Shah of Democratic Political Movement, and other separatist leaders took part in Wamiq’s funeral prayers. However, authorities had placed many separatist leaders, including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Zaffar Akbar Bhat and others, under house arrest.
After offering his funeral prayers at Nowahata hundreds of youth carrying Wamik’s body marched through the lanes of old city towards Martyrs graveyard at Eidgah. As the procession proceeded number of people joined it at different places and funeral prayers were once again offered at Martyrs graveyard where he was laid to eternal rest.
While Wamiq was being laid to rest, youth engaged policemen and paramilitary CRPF troopers in pitched battles near Rajouri Kadal and Iddgah localities. The troopers resorted to aerial firing to quell the protesters. However, they offered stiff resistance and formed small groups and retaliated with stones.
Nearly two dozen youth, including several policemen were injured in the clashes in the old city. “Nine policemen and six CRPF men were injured in the day long clashes,” said a police official.
Near Wamiq’s Rainawari residence, youth engaged policemen and CRPF personnel, hiding behind the armoured vehicles, in pitched battles throughout the day.
They staged demos and pelted stones on force personnel.
“Wamiq is innocent. His killing is a cold-blooded murder,” said a group of youth wearing masks during protests. “ We have got every right to protest against it,” they added.
Normal life came to a grinding halt in old city with shops and business establishments remaining closed and traffic reaming off the roads.
Tension also prevailed in the uptown areas of Dalgate and Maisuma where youth protested the killing. They blocked roads and pelted stones on police and CRPF troopers who retaliated by firing dozens of tear smoke canisters. Four civilians and a policeman were injured in the clashes at Maisuma.
Wamiq, a 7th standard student, was killed Sunday near Gojwara after a police officer fired a teargas shell which hit him in his head. He later succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS. The delinquent police officer was placed under suspension and the Inspector General of Police- Kashmir Range-ordered a probe.
“Following the unfortunate death of Wamiq Farooq yesterday, one Assistant Sub Inspector of Police has been placed under suspension for not having taken adequate precautions while firing a tear smoke shell towards protesters,” a police spokesman said.
“Today stray incidents of stone pelting occurred at Maisuma, Safakadal, Kawdara, Nowhatta and Rainawari in which half a dozen policemen received injuries while showing utmost restraint to control the situation,” he added.
He urged the parents of young boys not to allow their children to fall prey to “anti-social elements and indulge in stone pelting” that may cause harm to innocent people.