The family of the civilian who was fatally shot by a Central Reserve Police Force jawan in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday claimed that he was “killed deliberately”, AP reported on Thursday.
The CRPF identified the deceased as Peer Mehrajudin, the son of Ghulam Nabi, and a resident of Makhama village in Beerwah Budgam.
The news of his death triggered protests in his village. Forces were deployed and the police resorted to shotgun pellets and tear gas to quell the protestors who reportedly threw stones at them. Authorities also shut down 2G mobile internet services in the district to scuttle any possibility of spread of protests. Many were injured in the clashes. At least two women with pellet injuries to their eyes were taken to the main hospital in Srinagar for treatment, an unidentified doctor told the AP.
Mehrajuddin was driving a car, with his uncle in the passenger seat, when he was shot by a CRPF trooper at a security checkpoint in Kawoosa. The Central Reserve Police Force claimed the man ignored signals to stop at two checkpoints and that a soldier shot the victim “when the car didn’t stop despite warning shots”. It added the forces feared “a sabotage” as a military convoy was passing by at the time.
However, his uncle Ghulam Hassan Shah, an assistant sub-inspector in the Jammu and Kashmir Police, alleged that Mehrajuddin was “murdered” without “any provocation”, according to The Economic Times. He added the CRPF’s version of events was a “blatant lie”, as bullets pierced the car from front side, which was stationery at that time.
Shah said the incident took place around 10.30 am when his nephew was driving him to the police control room in Srinagar.“One side of road was blocked, by the forces, so traffic from both directions was plying on only one side of the road,” he told the newspaper. The policemen at the first checkpost allowed their vehicle to pass. However, the officer at the post signalled towards the soldier stationed on the second checkpost. “I couldn’t understand what that gesture was about,” he added. “[Then] this CRPF man suddenly pointed [a] gun at us. We stopped the car and he opened fire at my nephew.”
Shah said they were not removed from the spot for about 30 minutes till a doctor in a private car passed by and a soldier stopped him.“I fought with the CRPF man who opened fire and asked him why did he murder my nephew,” he added.
Senior police officers in Budgam refused to comment on Shah’s allegations, The Print reported. A senior CRPF officer posted in Srinagar said the force had already issued a statement.
The victim’s father, Ghulam Nabi Shah, also denied the police account, saying his son did not drive through any checkpoints, and that soldiers “first stopped him and then shot him”. Firdousa, an eyewitness, told AP that Mehrajuddin was killed deliberately. “He did no wrong,” she said. “A security official told him something to which he replied that he had some emergency. They let him go but as he was getting into his vehicle, they shot him in the back.”
The Budgam district administration has filed a first information report and started an investigation.