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Probe begins into Dodipora killing; JK govt to pay ex-gratia

By Staff

Handwara, Feb 24 (UNI) The Jammu and Kashmir government has started the inquiry into the killing of four youth, allegedly by the Army, while playing cricket at Dodipora near here on Wednesday, official sources said today.

The Handwara police station had already registered a case and lodged an FIR.

The probe was being conducted by Assistant Commissioner Revenue, Kupwara, Bashir Ahmad Khan, the sources said.

They said the authorities have also offered compensation to the families of the victims.

An ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh besides employment to one member of each family has been offered, the sources added.

The authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders (section 144) in the area.

Meanwhile, after protesting throughout the day yesterday, the mourners agreed to bury the bodies of the four youth late last evening following assurances by the officials that everything would be done to punish those responsible for the killing.

Tension had gripped the Handwara area of Kupwara district after mourners, about 10,000 in number, refused to bury the bodies of the youth till Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad visits the village and the ''guilty troops'' are arrested and punished.

The bodies of six-year-old Amir Akbar, Shakir Wani (8), Ghulam Hassan Bhat and Samad Mir (both 18 years old) had been kept on the main road at the Kulangam chowk, about nine km from Dodipora.

The protestors carried the bodies from Dodipora to Kulangam, covering a distance of nine km.

The mourners, shouting pro-freedom and anti-security forces slogans, had refused to buy the Army version of the incident in which it was said that the youth had been killed in cross-firing.

A judicial inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister too had failed to pacify the protestors.

Mr Azad has sought a thorough probe into the incident to ascertain the circumstances that led to the killing of four boys.

On the directions of the Chief Minister, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Basharat Ahmed Dhar and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, K Rajendra were camping in the area and keeping a close watch on the situation.

The mourners demanded that Mr Azad visit Dodipora village and see the bodies himself besides taking steps to arrest and punish the ''guilty'' Army personnel.

The protestors alleged that on one hand India was holding talks with Pakistan and the separatists leader, while on the other its security forces ''indulged in killings of innocent people''.

At least 15 people, including few policemen, were wounded during the day-long protests, which occasionally turned violent.


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