The shocking shoot-out

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The killing of Mehraj-ud-din, a young man from Makhama, Beerwah in district Budgam at Kawoosa on Srinagar-Gulmarg highway by personnel of CRPF has shocked one and all in Kashmir Valley. The slain, accompanied by his uncle, was driving his car and was on way to Srinagar when CRPF personnel on a checkpoint at Kawoosa near Narbal opened fire on him. He was injured critically and rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead. Though the CRPF, guarding the checkpoint have come up with a version that the man on wheels broke two checkpoints and didn’t heed to warning shots forcing the security forces to shoot him, no one, neither the uncle accompanying the slain nor the eye witnesses are ready to buy this version. The family has called it a cold blooded murder and said that he was deliberately shot with the intention of killing him. The incident has outraged the populace who, despite having no faith in official probes, are asking to find out the truth and fix the responsibility. Almost all the mainstream political parties have condemned the killing and asked the authorities to conduct an impartial probe to fix the responsibility and punish the guilty.

Though an FIR has been lodged in this incident and the district administration has promised to probe the killing, the incident has raised many a questions that need answers from the top brass of CRPF and JK Police who continue to insist that the slain jumped the checkpoints leaving forces with no option but to open fire. If, for argument’s sake one agrees to these claims, a simple question begs an answer. If the man on wheels had really jumped the checkpoint, why he was to be shot at in the chest? Couldn’t the CRPF personnel shoot the tyres to flatten them so that the car couldn’t move ahead? What was the need to shoot the man on wheels even if they were suspicious about his intentions? The incident is a sad commentary on the operational capability and lack of proper training of the forces involved in the shoot-out. Whatever claims the officials are going to make, no one in Kashmir would buy these. It is better that responsibilities are fixed. The forces are described as security forces only because these are expected to provide security to the population here. But instead of providing security, if these forces are ever ready to pull triggers on a slightest suspicion, the basic concept of providing security gets killed. Need is to probe the incident without the intention of saving some erring forces personnel, fix the responsibility and allow law to take its own course.

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