Srinagar: The family members of Sopore youth who according to them was killed in police custody have demanded that the body of their kin be returned so that he is buried next to his father in their home town.
Mohammad Iqbal Dar, a cousin of Irfan Ahmad said, “The family wanted to bury him near his father, who died a month ago. However, he has been taken to Sonamarg for burying.”
“His body should be returned, it is our right.”
President of local Auqaf, Mohammad Yousuf said, “SOG called us at 6 pm, but the officer wasn’t there [Townhall], we waited till 8 pm – then we were told that come tomorrow morning 10 am. Today, we were told to go to Sopore police station – there, they didnt tell us anything.”
Adding that later he was told to reach PRC Srinagar, “they have their own protocol, reach sooner, otherwise you wont be able to see his body. His uncle and elder brother, Waheed, went there. When I asked should I bring a vehicle to take the body back, I was told it wont be needed,” Mr. Yousuf told The Kashmir Walla.
Irfan Ahmad, 23, was killed inside the police custody, alleged the family of the youth.
However, police claimed that the deceased youth was an Over Ground Worker arrested on 15 September along with two grenades and that he died after fleeing during the night raid after which his body was found near a stone quarry.
The family, however, out rightly, rejected the police claim and alleged that their son was dubbed as a militant and he was killed in police custody. The authorities also snapped the internet in the area to prevent any law and order incident.
A police statement said that on 15 September at about 12:45 pm, one OGW namely Irfan Ahmad Dar (Age about 23/24 years) S/O Mohammad Akbar Dar R/O Sidiq-Colony, Sopore was apprehended and two Chinese Hand Grenades were recovered from his possession.
“In this regard, Case FIR No. 257/2020 U/S 18 ULA (P) Act, 7/27 A. Act was registered in Police Station Sopore and investigation taken up,” the police statement said. “During the course of investigation, a Police Team visited Chairdaji area of Tujjar-Sharief along with OGW for affecting some more recovery on the disclosure of the OGW.”
The police statement further read that in the meanwhile, the OGW while taking advantage of darkness and terrain managed to escape regarding which a separate Case FIR No. 71/2020 U/S 224 IPC was registered in Police Station Bomai. “And during search, the body of OGW was found near Stone Quarry of Tujjar-Sharief,” the police statement said, adding that the body was taken to the nearby Primary Health Centre (PHC), wherefrom it was shifted to PCR Kashmir Hospital for fulfilling medical and other legal formalities and final disposal. “Further investigation is going on,” the police statement said.
However, the family members of the deceased youth Mr. Irfan, accused police of dubbing their son as a militant and killing him in custody. “I along with my brother [Mr.] Irfan were picked up by police for questioning on 14 September and we were kept separately. I was set free but my brother was kept in the police custody,” Mr. Irfan’s brother Javaid Ahmad said.
He said that his brother has been killed in police custody and that he had no militant links. “My brother is innocent and was a shopkeeper by profession. He was unmarried and that the police claims about the recovery of grenades is nothing but baseless story.” Mr. Javaid demanded an impartial independent probe into what he alleged as “the cold-blooded murder” of his brother—(with inputs from KNO)