FIR against Army unit for ‘killing’ 28-yr-old man in J&K

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday registered an FIR against 58th Rashtriya Rifles unit for allegedly gunning down a cattle trader and injuring another person in Ramban district. The Army, however, said soldiers retaliated when they came under attack by the two, who were moving suspiciously near the Army establishment.

The deceased has been identified by cops as Mohammad Rafiq Gujjar (28). The injured, identified as Shakeel Ahmad (30), was admitted to hospital with bullet wounds. The two — both cattle traders — were allegedly fired upon by soldiers of the 58th RR unit when they were leaving Kohli village around 4am, a police officer said. Gujjar died on the spot, while Ahmad was injured and admitted to hospital, he added.

Both cattle traders had come to the village in connection with their business, the police said, citing preliminary investigations. The police said no weapon was found at the encounter site or in the possession of the deceased.

Ramban SSP Mohan Lal confirmed the death of a civilian and injuries to another in the Army firing. “An FIR under Section 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code and various sections of the Arms Act was lodged against the Army unit. Further investigation is on,” the SSP said.

However, a defence spokesperson said soldiers opened fire after their unit came under attack. “An operation was launched by the Army on specific intelligence inputs in Kohli area of Gool Tehsil in Ramban on August 5. At 3.45am, an Army patrol saw suspicious movements. On being challenged, suspected individuals opened fire upon the Army patrol and it retaliated,” defence spokesperson Lt-Col Devendra Anand said.

The Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, an organisation representing Gujjars and Bakerwal communities, demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing. “The killing of a cattle trader and injuring another is highly condemnable which needs to be investigated thoroughly,” it said in a statement.

CPM leader and Kulgam MLA Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami demanded compensation for the families of the civilians. “Losing precious human life is most unfortunate and mere condemnation isn’t enough,” he said.

The incident came a day after a person was killed when he had tried barge into the residence of former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar.

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