NEW DELHI: Two videos, apparently showing a teenage protester being shot in the head from close range and another showing an alleged stone-thrower tied to the front of an Army Jeep that went viral, sparked outrage in the Valley. The police have lodged an FIR, and the Army has ordered a probe.
Also on Friday, five persons were arrested for the assault on CRPF men in Budgam during the April 9 bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary seat. The arrests followed a complaint from the CRPF, and a hunt was on for six others seen in the video.
The latest 19-second video, purportedly also shot in the Chadoora assembly segment of Budgam on April 9, shows an alleged stone-thrower tied to an Army vehicle which is seen driving through village streets.
A voice, apparently that of an Army personnel, can be heard on the Jeep’s public address system saying, “Paththar bazon ka yeh haal hoga (this will be the condition of stone-throwers).”
The man has since been identified as Farooq Dar, while the Army unit involved was the 53 Rashtriya Rifles, officials investigating the matter on instructions from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said. They added that Mr. Dar is a resident of Sitaharaan village in Khag tehsil of Budgam.
Mr. Dar is said to have told investigators that he had gone to cast his vote and thereafter was on his way to his sister’s house, where a bereavement had taken place. When he was proceeding towards his sister’s village, he was caught by the Army personnel who wanted to enter Beerwah village along with the polling staff, the officials said.
He was then tied to the Army Jeep as the security convoy moved into the village along with jawans and some polling staff, they said. Mr. Dar told officials he was released after he was paraded in 10 to 12 villages. However, sources in the army, which has promised an enquiry, claimed that he was picked up from a “trouble spot” and was tied up for barely 100 metres, before being released.
Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah, who shared the video on Twitter, said, “This video requires an urgent inquiry and follow-up. I understand the outrage the CRPF video (showing protesters heckling a jawan) generated. I’m also outraged that the video of the youth on the Jeep won’t generate the same anger…. ,” wrote Mr. Abdullah.
As internet services were restored after a five-day blackout on Thursday, another video from Budgam showed a teenage protester shot in the head during clashes.
“There is no huge crowd trying to storm an election booth nor do these young boys carry guns, see video carefully. CRPF could have chased away the handful of boys. But without any warning, a 17- year-old boy Aqeel Ahmad Wani, a resident of Chur Mujroo village, Beerwah, has been shot in the head at polling station Govt High School Atina Beerwah district Budgam Kashmir on the day of polling,” said well-known Right to Information (RTI) activist Raja Muzaffar Bhat.
Both the videos, which went viral, triggered a barrage angry posts and tweets on social media in the Valley.
Public outrage forced the police to take note of the incident. “A case has been registered in the incident (youth being shot in the head). It is a matter of investigation and action will be taken against whoever is found guilty,” Director General of Police S.P Vaid said in Srinagar.