Cop suspended over Handwara firing

Srinagar, April 13 (IANS) An assistant sub-inspector of the Jammu and Kashmir police has been suspended for mishandling the law and order situation in Handwara where three people were killed in firing by security forces.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) north Kashmir, Uttam Chand told reporters the ASI had been suspended for mishandling the law and order situation pending a departmental enquiry.

He also said a magisterial probe had been ordered by the state government into Tuesday’s firing in Handwara town.

Meanwhile, independent legislator Engineer Rashid said that ASI Muhammad Rafiq has been accused by the relatives of one of the deceased youth of opening fire at the protesters.

Rashid told IANS that the ASI has been suspended for mishandling the law and order situation and also for firing at protesters.

He said the burial of one of the men killed, Nayeem Bhat, and a woman, Raja Begum was also held.

“The authorities have agreed to suspend assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI), Muhammad Rafiq who is accused by the relatives of the deceased youth for opening fire at the protesters,” he said.

“It has also been agreed by the authorities that the army bunker would be removed from Handwara town within one month.

“According to the agreement signed by us with the administration, no FIR would be lodged against any youth for yesterday’s protests in Handwara town and also that adequate compensation would be paid immediately to the next of kin of the deceased persons,” Engineer Rashid told IANS.

Three people, including two youths and a woman were killed in firing by security forces in Handwara town Tuesday after locals alleged a school girl had been molested by an army soldier.

The army troopers manning the bunker in Handwara town had been blamed for firing at the protesters gathered around the bunker who also attempted to torch it.

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti had called the GOC-in-C northern command, D.S. Hooda on Tuesday seeking punishment for the soldiers allegedly responsible for the firing incident.

The army issued a press release on Tuesday regretting the loss of lives in Handwara and promised action against any trooper found involved in the firing.

A defence spokesman on Wednesday said the statement made by the school girl before the local police had proved there had been no attempt by any soldier to molest her.

The spokesman also said allegations of molestation had been made to malign the “fair name of the army”.

Curfew was imposed in Handwara town on Tuesday evening and restrictions imposed in six police station areas of summer capital Srinagar to maintain law and order.

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