SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
The family of a 65-year-old civilian killed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday said he was killed in “cold blood” by government forces in the region, which the police rejected as “baseless” and “fabricated” claims.
According to the police, the deceased, identified as Bashir Ahmad Khan, 65, a resident of the Srinagar, and an Indian paramilitary personnel were killed when militants attacked the armed personnel deployed in Sopore district on early Wednesday.
In the incident, five people -- including four paramilitary troops -- were injured. “We lost one personnel and one civilian,” the police said.
Javaid Iqbal, a senior police officer in the region, rejected family’s allegations that the forces shot dead Khan.
He said that the civilian vehicle was caught in a shootout between militants and forces and that initial reports suggest that he got down from the vehicle along with the child to escape and got shot.
As police blamed militants for the killing, the family of the deceased civilian contested the police claim.
“He was killed before his three-year-old grandson,” the family of the deceased said, adding he was brought down from his car and then was shot by the armed forces.
Aijaz Ahmad Qudsi, the nephew of Khan, told Anadolu Agency that there was not even a small scratch on the car of his deceased uncle.
He questioned if his uncle’s car was caught in the shootout, how is it possible that not even a single bullet touched his car.
Qudsi called for an inquiry into the incident.
A picture showing a three-year-old boy sitting on Khan’s corpse went viral on the social media, stirring anger in the region.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965, and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989./aa