Police says OGW fled in dark, found his body near stone quarry; Family contests
Killing of Sopore youth invites sharp criticism from political parties
Sopore, Sept 16 : Protests erupted in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday after the news of death of a local youth, who according to police was an OGW and escaped in dark, whose body was later on recovered from a quarry. The family however alleged that Irfan Ahmad Dar was tortured to death after he along with his brother Javed Ahmad were picked up by police from their shop on Tuesday.
Soon after the incident internet services were suspended in the district to maintain law and order.
As the news of Dar’s spread in the area, protests broke out as relatives and neighbors gathered to mourn the alleged killing. Protestors were shouting slogans against police and condemned the alleged “custodial death” of 24-year old youth.
Earlier police in its statement said on 15.09.2020 at about 12.:45 hours, one Over-Ground Worker (OGW) namely Irfan Ahmad Dar aged about 23/24 years son of Mohammad Akbar Dar resident of Sidiq Colony, Sopore was apprehended and two Chinese Hand Grenades were recovered from his possession.
“In this regard, case under FIR No. 257/2020 U/S 18 ULA (P) Act, 7/27 A. Act was registered in Police Station Sopore and investigation taken up. 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”, police statement reads.
It added, “in the meanwhile the OGW while taking advantage of darkness and terrain managed to escape regarding which a separate case under 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 body was taken to the nearby PHC, wherefrom shifted to PCR Kashmir Hospital for fulfilling medical and other legal formalities and final disposal”, police said, adding further investigation has been initiated.
However the family members of Dar contested police claims and said he was “killed in custody”.
“I along with my brother Irfan were picked up by police for questioning on September 14 after which I was set free but my brother was kept in police custody”, said Javaid Ahmad, Irfan’s brother.
He alleged that his brother has been killed in police custody and that he had no militant connections.
“My brother is innocent and was a shopkeeper by profession. He had no militant connections and that the police claim about recovery of grenades is nothing but concocted story”, said Javaid. He demanded an impartial independent probe into what he alleged as “the cold blooded murder” of his brother.
Meanwhile the death of 23-year old youth in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district prompted authorities to snap all internet services to prevent any law and order situation.
Reacting sharply to the alleged custodial killing of a shopkeeper from Sopore on Wednesday, various political parties have expressed their displeasure and have demanded a probe into it.
Apni Party on Wednesday demanded a high level probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of Irfan Ahmad Dar, a 23-year-old youth from Sidiq-Colony, Sopore.
In a statement issued here, Javid Baig, spokesman of Apni Party demanded that the government must constitute an inquiry into the incident in order to ascertain the veracity of contradictory claims made by police and family of the deceased youth.
““Even if the claims of the police are true that the slain youth was an over ground worker who allegedly took advantage of darkness to escape and during search, his body was found at Tujjar-Sharief, the police cannot be absolved of its responsibility warranted under law. The circumstances which led to his death need to be probed in order to find the truth,” Baig added.
He urged the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha to order a time bound probe taking into account all the aspects of the unfortunate incident which has triggered a fresh wave of anger and alienation in the whole area. “The claims made by police and the bereaved family into this unfortunate incident cannot be ascertained unless impartial investigations are conducted into this incident in a time bound manner,” Baig demanded.
National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday urged the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha to intervene into the incidents like Shopian encounter and death of a Sopore youth whose family blames police for his alleged ‘custodial killing’.
Taking to micro blogging site, Twitter Omar wrote: ” The administration can not possibly win back the confidence of the people if “encounters” like Shopian or suspicious deaths like Sopore are allowed to pass without the facts being established & guilt, when determined, fully punished. @manojsinha_ must intervene in both these matters.”
Peoples Conference Chairman and former minister Sajad Lone has tweeted on Sopore incident in which police claimed a youth of having escaped its custody and whose body was later found at Tujjar Shareif, a nearby locality of the town.
“Sopore incident just dosen’t add up. They have done a bad job even at inventing a story. The guilty need to be punished,” Lone tweeted.
Apparently, the PC chairman has taken a jibe on police alleging it of having invented a story on the death of Irfan Ahmad Dar, a 23-year-old youth from Siddiq Colony Sopore.
All Parties Hurriyat Conference, on the other hand has gone a step further to condemn the killing, by terming it a cold blooded murder.
Daughter of incarcerated Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister and PDP president, Iltija Mufti wrote on twitter, “The cold blooded murder of 23 yr old Irfan Ahmed Dar, a shopkeeper by profession wrongfully accused of being OGW is a grim reminder of how truth is mangled & stories are fabricated to justify killing of innocent civilians in J&K.”