A man died after a Central Reserve Police Force vehicle ran over three people while purportedly trying to escape an attack by protestors in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar on Friday, NDTV reported. The incident triggered fresh protests against the government and security forces.
Purported video footage of the incident shows the CRPF vehicle being targeted by the crowd with stones. Another clip shows the vehicle speeding through the protest and a few people trying to move an injured man away from the vehicle.
The police registered two first information reports related to rash driving against the CRPF’s Srinagar unit and rioting against the protestors, Greater Kashmir reported. “We have lodged two cases with regard to the incidents and further investigations have been taken up,” Senior Superintendent of Police Imtiaz Ismail Parray was quoted as saying.
Unidentified officials said the deceased was Kaiser Bhat from Srinagar’s Fateh-a- Kadal, The Hindu reported. “He had suffered a serious chest injury and fractures,” doctors at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences said.
CRPF spokesperson Sanjay Sharma said a group of over 500 protestors surrounded a vehicle, Greater Kashmir reported. A senior official who was tasked with inspecting the deployment in the area was inside the vehicle. “The mob tried to open the back door of the vehicle that was closed from inside and lynch the CRPF men,” Sharma said. “They broke the windows of the vehicle.” However, the CRPF spokesperson denied killing the youth. Sharma said the vehicle driver “slowed down his speed and did not run over the youth”.
The matter precedes Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the state as part of the Centre’s efforts to reach out to Kashmiri youth after the government declared a ceasefire during the month of Ramzan.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah criticised Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s government over the incident. “Ceasefire means no guns so use jeeps,” he tweeted while asking if this was the standard operating procedure of dealing with protesters. The former chief minister made a reference to the armed forces’ controversial use of a human shield to deter protestors in April 2017.
Mufti is yet to comment on the incident.
Jammu and Kashmir Police took to Twitter to reply to criticism over the incident. “There is also a difference in presenting before the audience/readers/followers ‘a selective picture’ and not a ‘chain of pictures presenting the whole scene’,” the state police tweeted.
Separatists have called for a shutdown on Saturday to protest against security forces “excesses”, The Hindu reported.