Probe the killing

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A 20-yers-old civilian from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district was on Sunday morning killed near a CRPF camp in Babapora area in Shopian. The killed civilian was identified as Shahid Ahmad Rather, a resident of the Arwani area in Anantnag district. A daily-wage labourer, Shahid was reportedly hired by a Shopian farmer to help with harvesting the apple crop. Though the Police has claimed that around 1030 hrs, unidentified terrorists attacked a naka party of 178 Bn CRPF at Babapora, Shopian. The CRPF retaliated the fire and during “cross-firing” one person was killed, however, the family of the slain has disputed the police claim alleging that it was a targeted killing. Almost all the political parties and leaders have condemned the killing in strong words and have also demanded an impartial probe.

We, in these columns, have repeatedly been condemning civilian killing, no matter who is behind such killings. Police and security forces are here to protect the life and limb of citizenry. Agreed that these forces, at times, face precarious situations but that is what they are trained for to deal with. This incident has raised many eyebrows as there are no witnesses who could authenticate the Police statement regarding terrorists targeting the nakka party. It is therefore responsibility of the authorities to probe the incident impartially and get the real story to the fore. Agreed, the forces have been fighting a tiring battle against terrorism but that doesn’t give them license to target unarmed and innocent civilians.

Ironically the incident happened when Union Home Minister, Amit Shah was on a visit to the Union Territory and had made positive and reconciliatory statements reaching out to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. He had appealed the youth to join J&K’s march to development, peace and progress. In such a positive atmosphere, the killing has come as a shocker. Need is that the killing is probed thoroughly and responsibility fixed. The circumstances in which the civilian was shot dead are fishy and therefore a proper investigation is the only way to get to the truth. Mere condemnations won’t help. Unearthing the truth behind the incident won’t bring back the slain but by doing so the administration will do justice to the victim family and uphold the law of the land. We live in a democracy and our constitution is a sacred document that upholds the sanctity of human rights. Right to life is a fundamental right and no one should snatch this right. Let the incident be probed properly and the findings be shared with the public so that the ordinary citizens’ sense of security is restored.

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