Kupwara sumo driver laid to rest amid sobs, tears; thousands attend funeral 

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By Fast Kashmir on 17/12/2017.

Kupwara sumo driver laid to rest amid sobs, tears; thousands attend funeral 

Army says he’s killed in ‘cross firing’; police files FIR

Srinagar, Dec 17: A sumo driver hailing from Thandipora village of Kupwara district in north Kashmir who was killed allegedly in army firing was today laid to rest amid sobs and tears as thousands turned up for his funeral in his native village.

 

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The sumo driver namely Asif Iqbal was killed allegedly in an ambush last night after he was coming out of his house to take a patient to hospital, family and locals had told news agency GNS.

 

SSP Kupwara, Shamsheer Hussain had also confirmed the killing of the sumo driver in army firing but termed it a case of “mistaken identity”.

 

According to GNS, police handed over the body of the slain to his family today early morning after completing all medico-legal formalities.

 

Asthe body reached Batapora, which is adjacent to Thandipora, thousands of people who were already waiting there took it in a procession. The mourners were shouting pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans while also demanding punishment to the guilty.

 

At Batapora, independent MLA Engineer Rashid also joined the mourners. He however was detained by police and taken to nearby police station.

 

Themourners near Batapora were intercepted by police and clashes erupted between two sides afterwards. Police used teargas shells to the disperse the mourners.

Inthe clashes, one police officer sustained minor stone injury, an official told GNS.

 

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the funeral of slain driver at  Thandipora village.

 

Womenwere screaming and wailing during the funeral. The slain was laid to rest amid sobs and tears in local graveyard.

 

A senior police officer when contacted told news agency GNS that the situation in Kupwara is under control.

 

“We had requested people not to take law into their hands and the overall situation is peaceful. There were some clashes at Batapora and Kralpora but we fired few teargas shells and the situation was contained,” he said.

 

Sources said while complete shutdown is being observed in Kralpora area and the adjoining parts are observing partial shutdown.

 

Pertinently, SSP Kupwara had told GNS that a probe would be ordered into the incident and whosoever is guilty would be punished.

 

Army’s Srinagar based defence spokesman in a statement issued to GNS said: “Based on information of presence of militants in Thindpura village, army placed ambushes to maintain surveillance over the area on night 16/17 December.

 

Ataround 2255h, ambush party observed suspicious movement of three persons near nallah  in Thindpura village”.

 

The individuals were challenged by troops, however,  they did not respond. Thereafter,  militants opened fire towards army ambush party which was retaliated to . In the crossfire,  one person, later identified as Asif Iqbal Bhat, s/o Mohd Iqbal Bhat, resident of Thindpura was killed due to Gunshot wound. It is learnt that he was a sumo taxi driver. Investigations are in progress, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile a police statement issued to GNS said: “In reference to the incident occurred at Kupwara in which one civilian identified as Asif Iqbal Bhat son of Mohammad Iqbal resident of Thandipora was killed at Thandipora in the jurisdiction of Police Station Kralpora.”

Kupwara police has lodged an FIR in Police Station Kralpora and investigation has been started. Police and civil administration will provide all help to the bereaved family, the statement added. (GNS)