A 25-year-old man was killed at Kawoosa on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road on Wednesday when CRPF personnel fired at his vehicle, with officials alleging that he had jumped two check points.
The killing of Peer Mehrajudin, a resident of Makheema village in Budgam district who worked at a Khidmat centre, triggered protests that led to the snapping of mobile internet services in the area. Local residents alleged the CRFF opened fire at Mehrajudin without any reason.
Ghulam Nabi, the father of Mehrajudin, said: “I received a call from my neighbour that my son had been injured. He had left his house with his uncle in the morning and was shot dead while on way to work.”
Nabi, who retired as a government employee, said he had no information on why his innocent son was killed without any reason. “In the morning, he left his house for work and hours later, his body arrived at our house. This is inhuman.”
People assembled at Mehrajudin’s house and shouted slogans against his killing. “If this young man had jumped the check point, as the CRPF is saying, why didn’t they fire at the tyres of his vehicle? Was it necessary to kill him?” said his neighbour Bashir Ahmad.
Local residents too said Mehrajudin’s uncle was a witness to the incident as he was with him in the car when CRPF personnel opened fire. The uncle was taken by police.
CRPF spokesman Pankaj Singh said a vehicle broke through a check point of Jammu and Kashmir Police at 10.20am and sped away. The vehicle approached another check point manned by the CRPF and jumped that one too, he said.
“At that time, a convoy of the army was passing through an adjacent road and, fearing sabotage, the CRPF jawan manning the check point fired warning shots. The car was driving in the wrong direction of the road and that was even more alarming,” Singh said.
“When the car didn’t stop despite the warning shots, the jawan fired at the car and the driver was hit on his left shoulder. He was shifted to SHMS Hospital in Srinagar, where he was declared brought dead by doctors.”
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah described the man’s killing as unfortunate and called for an investigation.
“Very unfortunate. The circumstances surrounding this shooting need to be impartially investigated & findings made known. My condolences to the family of the deceased,” he tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party leader and former minster Ghulam Hassan Mir condemned the killing and demanded a timebound probe. He said the use of excessive force in implementing the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown is unjustified.
“There are no words to express our grief over this avoidable loss of precious life. This unjustified use of force to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown only adds to the alienation and resentment among the people,” he said.
Mehrajudin is second civilian killed by the CRPF in Kashmir in the recent past. Earlier, a 14-year-old boy was killed at Langate after militants attacked a CRPF patrol at Kralgund in north Kashmir. Three CRPF troopers were killed in the attack, while the militants escaped.