Kashmir

‘Locals say Ayoub was killed in retaliatory firing by forces; Police refutes claim’
Pulwama, March 03: A civilian was killed while four others, including a CRPF man, injured in a grenade attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama town on Friday, police and witnesses said.

Witnesses said at about 11.45 am, suspected militants hurled a grenade on a CRPF mobile bunker in Muran Chowk which exploded with a bang.

“A CRPF man and four civilians were injured in the grenade blast. All of them were rushed to district hospital Pulwama where one of the injured later succumbed,” they said.

The forces, according to witnesses, fired bullets in air, triggering panic among people after the grenade blast.

The civilian who died was identified as Muhammad Ayoub Wani, 35, son of Muhammad Ahsan of Gusoo, Pulwama. The injured CRPF man Dalveer Kareem of 182nd Battalion was referred to Srinagar in a critical condition. The other injured were identified as Abdul Ahad Sofi son of Gulam Nabi of Dalipora; Shaheena, wife of Manzoor Ahmad of Pathan, and Abdur Rasheed, son of Abdul Ahad of Manghama.

Locals alleged that Ayoub had bullet injury on the chest and was killed in retaliatory firing by forces after the grenade attack. However, according to doctors and police, he had a shrapnel injury on the pericardial area.

“He had splinter injury on his body. We have to follow the report of the Health department which is final,” Senior Superintendent of Police Pulwama, Rayees Muhammad Bhat said.

The grenade blast triggered panic in the town and people rushed to safer places while traffic also remained off the roads for a few minutes, witnesses said.

“Soon, more police and CRPF reinforcements reached the spot while youth from different areas took to streets and resorted to heavy stone-pelting on the forces personnel and the mobile bunker that earlier came under the grenade attack,” witnesses told Greater Kashmir.

“The forces retaliated with tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes,” they said.

Soon, shopkeepers downed the shutters in the town while a complete shutdown was observed for rest of the day.

The forces also thrashed Greater Kashmir’s Pulwama-based photographer Kamran Yousuf while he was performing his professional duty.

“I was clicking pictures during clashes. But some SOG men came towards me and one of them slapped me many times and hit me with a stick. He also tried to snatch my camera,” he said.

SSP Bhat said: “Militants hurled a grenade on a mobile bunker, causing injury to five persons including a CRPF man. Later one civilian succumbed.”

Respond to beating of Kamran by SOG men, he said: “It is very unfortunate. I assure you that I would look into the matter and action would be taken against those who have done this.”

Meanwhile, Ayoub, 35, was working as a temporary peon in Government Middle School Gusoo.

Locals said he had gone to Pulwama to scan his Aadhar Card and was riding his bike when the grenade blast took place.

He is survived by three brothers and elderly parents.

Two of his brothers are in the J&K Police department while the eldest is handicapped, they said.

As the news of his death spread, hundreds of people assembled in Gusoo and raised pro-freedom slogans. They alleged that Ayoub had a bullet injury on his chest and was killed in firing by forces after the blast. Police however continued to deny the claim.

Later, hundreds of people participated in his funeral procession.

Gk

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