Killing of teacher: Anti-army protest continues

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Srinagar, Oct 20: Thousands of angry mourners were on the roads in a village of Kupwara district in north Kashmir today in protest against the killing of a teacher by the Army yesterday, and refused to bury the body till ''strongest possible'' action was taken against the guilty soldiers.

The protestors have gathered near the residence of Abdul Rashid Mir, a resident of Rawatpora, Kralapora in the Kupwara district, soon after he was shot dead by the soldiers in Marsari forests of Chowkibal area while on way to his school at 1030 hrs yesterday.

The Army has regretted the killing and ordered a court of inquiry into ''this unfortunate'' incident.

The mourners have refused to bury the body of Mir and demanded that senior state government and Army officials visit the village and give them full assurance that ''strongest possible'' action would be taken against the accused soldiers.

Shouting anti-Army and pro-independence slogans, the protestors have placed the body on the road.

Reports received here said Mir had to walk three km every day through dense Marsari forests from his residence to the school and used to accompany two women teachers as well. Soldiers of nearby Drangyari camp in the forest area had been allegedly harassing Mir since a long time and directed him not to accompany the women teachers.

On Thursday, the reports said, the soldiers had allegedly snatched his identity card and warned him of dire consequences if he dared to accompany the women teachers henceforth.

When the accused soldiers again spotted Mir with the women teachers of Friday morning, they first allegedly subjected him to third degree torture and then shot him dead.

The reports further said after killing Mir, the soldiers tried to bundle him into a vehicle, but had to flee from the spot on seeing the approaching angry villagers. The locals later took possession of the body and set ablaze the Army vehicle.

About 10,000-15,000 angry villagers later gathered at Mir's residence at Rawatpora and protested against the Army.

The mourners refused to bury the body till an FIR was registered against the accused soldiers and stern action taken against them.

Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Afsandyar Khan later instructed the police to register a case and start investigations. He said the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, would probe the matter.

Giving details of the incident, a defence spokesman here said the Army had conducted road opening of Chowkibal-Drangyari to ensure safe passage of a convoy.

A person came towards the road near one of the stop locations, the spokesman said, adding he was halted and told to prove his identity by the soldiers on duty in Marsari general area at 1030 hrs.

Instead of showing his identity papers, he said the individual got into an argument with the soldiers.

In this confusion, a weapon got accidentally discharged which caused ''unfortunate fatal injuries'' to Mir, the spokesman added.

''The Army regrets this unfortunate incident leading to the death of Mir. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident,'' he said.


UNI

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