Thursday, May 28, 2009


One Dies, Another Critical; Anti-Army Demos; Driver Held; Pampore Shutdown For 4 Days
Srinagar, May 28: For the third time this month an army vehicle trampled to death a youth and critically another near Badami Bagh army cantonment on Thursday morning, triggering massive anti-army demonstration in the area.Eyewitnesses said the Shafat Ahmad Wagay and Muhammad Ashraf Sheikh of Kadalbal Pampore were riding a bike when the army vehicle hit them while overtaking them. Shafat Ahmed died on the spot, while Muhammad Ashraf suffered grievous head injuries.Eyewitnesses said that army did not allow them approach Shafat’s body for 15 minutes after the incident. “Shafat’s body remained untouched for 15 minutes on road because the army did not allow any one to go near it,” eyewitnesses alleged.Shafat was taken to Army hospital, where he was declared brought dead.Ashraf Sheikh, who had been injured in the accident, was taken to the nearby Army hospital from where he was referred to SK Institute of Medical Sciences, where doctors said that his condition was critical. “He has cervical spine fracture and a ruptured spleen. We will be operating upon him soon,” the doctors said.Police have arrested the driver identified as Lance Naik P.K. Panday of the 103 regiment posted at BB Cantonment. The SDPO Nehru Park, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, told Greater Kashmir, “We have arrested the driver (PHOTOGRAPH OF KILLER DRIVER UNDER POLICE CUSTORY SHOWN BELOW) and seized the vehicle. We have lodged FIR 104/09 against the accused in Ram Munshi Bagh Police Station and booked him under sections 279 and 337 of RPC for negligent driving.” However, it was not clear whether the accused was in police or army custody.Immediately after the accident, hundreds of people assembled at Batwara and shouted slogans against army, demanding action against the driver. The police dispersed protestors by firing tear gas shells and several rounds of ammunition in air. Police action angered the peaceful protesters who pelted stones and in the ensuing clashes several protestors sustained injuries.Meanwhile, Fallah Behbood Committee of Pampore alleged the Army vehicle deliberately hit the two youths outside the gate of Badamibagh Cantonment at Batwara. The Committee said that it would observe a complete Bandh in the Pampore for four days.“We will launch peaceful protests against the killing of innocent people by army,” the secretary of the committee said.The residents residing adjacent to bypass said that traffic police should be deployed immediately to replace the Army and CRPF patrol parties deployed during passage of army convoys.This is the third accident on the Srinagar-Jammu highway involving an army vehicle in the last month. On 8 May Bashir Ahmad Sofi, a former militant commander was hit by an army vehicle when he was calling from a mobile phone on roadside at Khrew Pampore. On 12 May an army driver, alleged by the locals to be drunk, crushed 10-year-old Khusboo near Lasjan.The Army spokesman Col J S Brar refused to comment on the incidence of army vehicles involved in accidents. He said an inquiry has been ordered by the army. “The driver has been arrested and he is in army custody. We have immediately called for an inquiry.”The IG Traffic Muhammad Amin Shah refused to comment on army vehicles involved in accidents and said it was not his jurisdiction. “Each accident is different but I can’t say anything about this. Investigations will tell about why the accident happened.”The IG further added, “The DIG traffic has written to the army so that we can chalk a plan where their presence does not congest the roads and we are sorting the matter out.”BOY DIES IN PAMPORETwelve year old Ubaid Rafiq son of Muhammad Rafiq of Frestibal Pampore succumbed to wounds at sub-district hospital Pampore. He was trampled by a truck (JK01C-2852) on Srinagar-Jammu highway. A FIR has been lodged against the driver at Pampore Police station.

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