The Central Reserve Police Force on Wednesday dismissed reports that its personnel shot a man after forcing him out of a car in Sopore town in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, after photographs of a weeping child sitting on his dead grandfather’s body went viral.
The man’s family had claimed that the security forces shot him. Instead, the CRPF has alleged that it was militants who killed the man.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that a CRPF soldier and a civilian had been killed in an attack by suspected militants in Sopore. Three security personnel were also injured in the attack.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has reiterated the CRPF’s version of events and threatened action against those spreading fake news. “The news surfaced on some social networking sites that the civilian was brought down and killed is totally baseless and is far beyond the facts,” the police said. “Sopore Police refutes and denies the news and legal action shall be initiated against the false reports and rumours.”
The CRPF, rebutting the claims that it had shot a civilian, said that around 7.30 am, its force reached Model Town in Sopore for patrolling duties. They said that while troops were exiting their vehicles, militants hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque started firing indiscriminately. The firing led to injuries to three jawans and the death of one, whom the CRPF identified as Deep Chand Verma.
“A civilian vehicle which was coming from Sopore to Kupwara was caught in the firing range of terrorists,” the CRPF said. “An old man who was driving the vehicle stopped the car and got down from vehicle to move away for safe spot but got killed by terrorists firing. Later the young boy was rescued by security forces who took position nearby.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah lashed out at the security forces after the photo went viral online.
“Everything becomes a propaganda tool in the bloody violence in Kashmir,” he tweeted. “A three year old toddler has to have his misery broadcast to the whole world to drive home the ‘we good they bad’ message. We would have got the point without his misery being filmed & shared so please don’t.”
However, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra praised the security forces for allegedly saving the child. “These pictures speak more than a thousand words,” he tweeted. “Inhuman Pakistan-sponsored terrorists gruesomely kill an elderly gentleman even as his grandchild helplessly looks on. Our brave Indian security forces saved the child.”
Patra also said he will appear on a news channel at 5 pm to discuss the matter. “When will the true picture of Kashmir get a Pulitzer Prize,” he said in reference to security forces allegedly saving the child’s life. He also went on to criticise singer Vishal Dadlani and actor Dia Mirza, calling them “left-liberal-jihadists”, after the two tweeted their criticism about the incident.