Indian Army accused of killing beggar in India-controlled Kashmir

08:35, April 19, 2010      

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Police in India-controlled Kashmir Sunday registered a murder case against Indian Army personnel for killing a beggar allegedly in a fake encounter on Wednesday, officials said.

"We have registered FIR (first information report) No 60 of 2010 under Section 302 against Indian Army," a police official posted in Handwara said.

Indian Army spokesman J. S. Brar on Wednesday claimed army had killed an unidentified aged militant in a gunfight inside Rainawari forests of Handwara in frontier Kupwara district, 85 km northwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of India-controlled Kashmir.

The army handed over the body to police, which they buried in a graveyard as unclaimed.

However, two days after the incident, a family from village Devar-Lolabof Kupwara approached the police stationed, claiming the deceased was their father, Habibullah Khan.

Khan, according to family members, was not a militant and was instead resorting to begging to make family ends meet.

On the insistence of Khan's son, Raj Mohammed Khan, police Saturday exhumed the body.

After proper identification by the authorities, the body was handed over to the family members, who later on took it to their ancestral graveyard.

The killing has landed the Army into a controversy of a "fake encounter".

However, the Army Saturday evening issued another statement saying a gunfight with militants took place on Wednesday and after search operations a body was found lying in the area.

"Possibly the deceased was being exploited as a guide or a human shield," the statement read.

The incident is likely to generate protests and political heat in this sensitive region.

New Delhi has imposed the controversial Armed Forces Special PowersAct (AFSPA) in the region, which gives extraordinary powers to its troops such as shooting a person on mere suspicion in the region.

Indian troops have been consistently accused of human rights violations in the region in the last two decades.

Separatists in the region have been consistently demanding the withdrawal of troops and scrapping of special powers and have even made it a pre-condition for entering into formal talks with New Delhi.

Source: Xinhua


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