Indian forces kills one civilian, injure seven in Kashmir

The incident comes in the aftermath of catch and search operations in 10 villages in south Kashmir

September 05, 2018 by Peoples Dispatch
A police vehicle overtaking the ambulance carrying Fayaz Wani’s corpse from SMHS hospital in Srinagar. Wani was hit in his head in Chewa in Pulwama during a major CASO on September 3, 2018. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Following a catch and search operation (CASO) that was recently carried out in 10 villages of southern Kashmir, one civilian was killed by Indian forces. Seven others were injured in the fallout of civilian protests that erupted soon after the counter-insurgency programme. More than 60 civilians have been killed in different firing incidents this year while hundreds have suffered tear gas and pellet injuries.

Fayaz Ahmad Wani, 26, was in Chewa-Khalan village when he ran into the the exit point of army vehicles during a CASO at Karewa. The army personnel, who were leaving, reportedly spotted a bunch of youth, including him, and started following  Fayaz. Eyewitness said on Monday that a soldier shot him at close range. A bullet pierced Fayaz’s face and he collapsed: “For the next ten minutes, they (army) didn’t allow anyone to go near him. He bled to death there and then,” a relative of Fayaz told Kashmir Life.

On Sunday, following another search operation at Laddi Imamsahab village in Shopian, a number of civilians pelted stones at the security forces. In response, the soldiers fired several rounds of pellets and tear gas, injuring seven civilians. “Among the injured who were shifted to Srinagar hospital were two persons whose eyesight was damaged,” residents said.

In its recent report, Security Conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Ministry of India stated that the death of civilians in Kashmir increased by 167% in 2017 when compared to 2015. This year, as many as 41 policemen were also killed in attacks by militants and unidentified gunmen. Militant outfits have attacked police personnel, accusing them of sabotaging their activities in southern Kashmir and providing detailed inputs to intelligence agencies that has led to the death of more than 130 militants.

Meanwhile, for the first time in three decades of insurgency, militants abducted the relatives of police officials before releasing them later. The incident was noted as a watershed moment as it comes in the aftermath of militants repeatedly asking the police and security establishment to stop harassing and interrogating their families.

“My husband (the father of militant Riyaz Naikoo) was detained more than a 100 times since June 2012. They even damaged goods worth INR 3 lakh and warned us of dire consequences,” Zeba Banoo, the mother of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Naikoo, said on August 31.

“By involving militants’ families or by burning their houses during midnight raids, and harassing their kin on and off, the Indian state is only making this conflict more deadly, intimate, and personal. Fight guns with guns. For god’s sake, leave families on all sides alone,” senior journalist Shams Irfan said.