News Analysis |
Anger has erupted in Jammu and Kashmir after Indian paramilitary forces, the CRPF, crushed three Kashmiri civilians under their vehicle in Srinagar on Friday. All three have reportedly sustained serious injuries while the condition of one of them is described to be critical.
Local residents said that an armored vehicle of CRPF drove wildly into a crowd of pro-independence protesters in Srinagar slamming into a half-dozen people and crushing one man beneath its wheels, injuring him critically. However, the CRPF has rejected the allegations saying that the forces showed ‘extreme restraint.’
“It was a situation created by the crowd. We showed extreme restraint,” Sanjay Sharma, a spokesman for the paramilitary force, was quoted by Associated Press. One of the youth has been identified as Mohammad Younis. “When we received him at SKIMS hospital, he is intubated. We are monitoring his condition but he is very critical,” an official from the hospital told Free Press Kashmir.
The photo taken by an AP photographer has now gone viral on social media platforms eliciting angry reactions from commentators, journalists and civil rights groups.
These pictures from #Srinagar downtown are very disturbing. This is horrible way to quell a protest. Government and #CRPF must explain. Is it the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Hope they survive. Pic courtesy #KashmirJournalistsHub pic.twitter.com/WrZ0ENgZbX
— Shujaat Bukhari (@bukharishujaat) June 1, 2018
A CRPF vehicle ran over two youth in Nowhatta, Srinagar following protests that erupted post-Friday prayers on Friday 01 June 2018. Both the youth are in critical state at SKIMS, Hospital in Srinagar. pic.twitter.com/spkdOJDUjA
— Rising Kashmir (@RisingKashmir) June 1, 2018
Meanwhile, a local police officer said that the vehicle had accidentally strayed into an area crowded with protesters before it struck some people when the driver realized what had happened and tried to get away quickly. “It was a mistake,” the police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment, was quoted by news agency AP.
Hundreds of people had gathered to stage a peaceful protest after their weekly Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Witnesses said that as the protest was going on, a speedy CRPF vehicle hit two youth, who were part of the protest. Last month, the Centre’s BJP government had announced a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir Valley on the first day of Ramadan.
This latest incident evokes the memory of last month’s killing of a Kashmiri civilian in a similar manner. A civilian was killed after a forces’ vehicle openly ran over him during clashes with the government forces in Safa Kadal area of Downtown Srinagar on 5th May 2018. The civilian who was critically injured after a forces’ vehicle ran over him at Safa Kadal was shifted to SMHS hospital where he succumbed.
The deceased was identified as Adil Ahmad. A video recording of his death went viral in Jammu and Kashmir and elicited a strong response from neutral observers. The government snapped mobile internet connection in Srinagar and other areas after the circulation of the video which showed the civilian being run over by the force’s vehicle.