J&K: Civilian Killed in CRPF Firing in Anantnag, Family Questions Police Claims
Parvez Ahmad was shot by the CRPF after the vehicle he was travelling in didn't stop at the security checkpoint.
The family of the civilian who was shot dead by a Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Anantnag on Thursday, 7 October, contested police claims and said that it was a "cold-blooded murder".
The deceased was immediately identified as Yasir Ali of Jajatkotli, Jammu and was later identified as Parvez Ahmad Bokda, 23, son of Noor U Din, currently residing in Kashwan village of tribal area in South Kashmir's Anantnag district.
On Thursday evening, security forces claimed that one person was shot dead after the vehicle he was travelling in didn't stop at the security checkpoint despite being signalled to do so.
The police subsequently issued a statement stating that a checkpoint was established by 40th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Monghal Bridge.
"A suspected vehicle without number was tried to intercept” reads a police statement, adding, “however it rushed towards the Naka party. It was then challenged by the on duty troops who fired upon in self defence and one person died. But driver managed to escape".
The family, however, questioned the government forces for not firing warning shots but instead firing a volley of bullets on him resulting to his on the spot death.
While speaking with The Quint, the family of the deceased said they are unable to come to terms with his death, and have many questions about the circumstances that led to his killing and the manner in which police behaved with the bereaved family.
Living in a Tent
Bokda, who was a labourer by profession, is survived by his wife Muneeba, who is in her eighth month of pregnancy, and two daughters – Shabnam (5) and Meema (3).
"He used to come to Kashmir every year along with his family to fetch work to feed his family. This year also he along with his family was here to earn livelihood. Apart from working in paddy field, he also used to do work as a part-time driver."Zakir Khan, Bokda's Brother-in-law
On that fateful day on 7 October, Zakir said that he was working in a paddy field till 1 pm when he got a call from some person offering him to work as a driver of his vehicle; he left in a hurry to Qazigund.
Bokda was supposed to travel to Jammu the next day with the household staff of his sister as the family was planning to move to Jammu in the next few days following the onset of winter season.
“On way back home, Bokda called his wife Muneeba, and informed he was near Mir Bazar Anantnag and asked her to keep dinner ready as he was planning to leave late night. But minutes before he would have reached home, he was killed by the government forces,” Zakir said.
Not First Incident
In a similar kind of incident, CRPF trooper shot dead a youth, Mehrajuddin Peer, son of Ghulam Nabi, and a resident of Makhama village in Budgam from a point-blank range on 13 May 2020.
Mehrajuddin was driving a car, with his uncle Ghulam Hassan Shah in the passenger seat, when he was shot by a CRPF trooper at a security checkpoint in Kawoosa.
However, the killing had triggered a controversy as his uncle, a police official, who was accompanying him, claimed it was unprovoked firing.
The CRPF in a statement had said that he ignored signals to stop at two checkpoints, and that a soldier shot at him “when the car didn’t stop despite warning shots”, adding the forces feared “a sabotage” as a military convoy was passing by at the time.
Following the incident there was a hue and cry; even opposition parties had called for a partial enquiry, however, family of the deceased said that neither justice has been delivered nor any enquiry has been carried out till date.
"One and a half year has elapsed and we are still roaming from door to door in search of justice," Shabir Ahmad Shah, brother of slain Mehrajuddin said, adding the file had gathered dust at the district administration office.
Zakir Khan said that they were not aware whether the vehicle Bokda was travelling in was without number plate or not and whether he jumped the checkpoint or not, but was sure that Bokda's life could have definitely been saved.
“We fail to understand how one would drive a vehicle without registration plate in highly militarised zone, that too in odd hours. I had talked to owner of vehicle saying the vehicle had number plates installed. The forces broke the plates of their own to cover up their crime."Zakir Khan, Bokda's Brother-in-law
The family is in utter shock and demanded an impartial investigation into the killing. "Those who fired at him should be held accountable and punished," Zakir added.
After a pause, he said if the forces could have fired warning shots even on tyres of vehicle, maybe Bokda would have survived but they shot with the intention to kill.
Zakir quoting the owner of the vehicle said, "One bullet hit Bokda in chest, one in brain and one at the back of the head.”
"He left home excited to return with a promise of job but returned on a stretcher with clothes drenching in blood. It was like a qayamat (doomsday) for us. The hopes of his family have shattered and have been buried with his burial."Zakir Khan, Bokda's Brother-in-law
A silent Burial
Zakir said when Bokda didn't reach home by dinner, his wife called him but his phone was switched off. He said that they had assumed he would be busy somewhere and hoped for his return the next day and went to sleep.
Zakir told The Quint, "Things turned otherwise in the dead of the night when police woke us up by calling from outside tents and took us along to the district hospital in Anantnag from where we were taken to a local police station where they told us to sign on some papers before letting us know that Bokda was killed."
"We were shocked beyond imagination and are completely shaken by his death. Later, police carried the body in the dead of the night to the burial place, however, they didn’t let us have a proper burial for Bokda and forced us to bury him in the night."Zakir Khan, Bokda's Brother-in-law
“We couldn’t even give him a proper bath. Even his grave was not properly dug. It was around 7:30 am that we finally buried him,” Zakir alleged.
Zakir said around 200 people had gathered to take part in the funeral processions but police didn't allow that to happen.
Zakir alleged that the police instead snatched the mobile phones of those who tried to take pictures and make videos of the entire episode of the incident and that two phones are still with the J&K police.
When the police were asked to return the phones, Zakir said that they feared the people would share the content on social media.
The Quint called Anantnag Superintendant of Police (SP), Ashish Kumar Mishra, a couple of times, but he didn’t respond to the calls. The Quint has also sent a written questionnaire to Kumar mentioning the family's allegations. The story would be updated once we receive a response from the SP.
The killing drew a massive public outrage and people started mocking the security forces and the selective condemnation by the side of social media giants.
Taking it to the microblogging site Twitter, Guftar Ahmad, a social activist said, "Parvez Ahmed Bokda, a tribal Muslim was killed by CRPF. Who will speak for him? He was also citizen of J&K. His funeral was held early morning, even his family was not able to attend nimaz jinaza (funeral prayers). What was his fault?"
In yet another tweet he said that Bokda was the only bread earner of the nomadic family and was killed last night by CRPF.
"What his two kids will do now? Who will earn for them? What his pregnant wife will do? Family has not even house to live. His killing should be probed," his tweet read.
Saima Choudhary, another social activist, termed the silence of social media influencers who always mock civilian killings as irony.
She said, "In bloody week of Kashmir, along with Seven civilians killings, Perviaz Ahmed - lone earner was shot dead by CRPF leaving behind two little girls & pregnant wife devastated".
She added, "irony is nobody demanded probe or questioned his killing. Does Lives of Tribal Community matters in J&K"?
Former Chief Minister of erstwhile state of J&K, Mehbooba Mufti termed it a knee-jerk reaction.
She tweeted, "this appears to be the start of a knee jerk reaction to what has transpired during last two days. Disproportionate force has been used by CRPF which has resulted in this innocent civilian’s death. Will there be any action against the trigger happy personnel?”
"Yasir Ali [later identified as Parvez Ahmad] killed by security forces at a check point in South Kashmir last night. A heightened state of alert cannot be a reason to open fore like this. Senior officers of security forces need to ensure calmer heads prevail and nothing happens to worsen the situation," Omar Abdullah tweeted.
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