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J&K: Probe ordered into killing of civilian

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 17, 2006 20:40 IST
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In a case of mistaken identity, Army troops shot and killed a 70-year-old man in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, triggering clashes between enraged locals and police in which five people were injured.

The army regretted the killing and said a Court of Inquiry had been set up to probe the incident.

Normalcy was restored after police registered a case against the troops and the authorities assured financial relief to the bereaved family.

Sonaullah Magray, a village chief, was killed when he walked into an ambush laid by troops of the Rashtriya Rifles to trap militants in village Tarigam-Dooru in the wee hours, official sources said.

They said Magray was on his way to a mosque to offer prayers when the incident happened.

The killing sparked instant protests with villagers holding massive demonstrations demanding severe punishment for erring security force personnel.

Chanting anti-army slogans, over 5000 protesters poured into the streets with Magray's body and enforced a shutdown in the village and nearby areas.

The villagers pelted stones at police who swung batons and burst teargas shells to bring the situation under control.

The protesters also tried to block the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Qazigund, some 80 kms from Srinagar.

The pitched battles between protesters and police left five injured, two of them women.

A defence spokesman said at around 0630 hours, an ambush party challenged a man when they saw him approaching them. When he did not stop, the security force personnel fired a warning shot, he said.

Instead of heeding the warning, the man bent down and the troops thought that he was pulling out a weapon from his clothes, the spokesman said.

The troops fired two shots at him -- one hit him in the leg and the other in the stomach, he said adding the man succumbed to bullet wounds.

The spokesman said the army regretted the killing which was a case of mistaken identity, adding a Court of Inquiry had been constituted to probe the killing.

The protesters refused to bury the dead despite assurances by senior police and district officials that a probe would be conducted into the incident and guilty brought to book.

Later, they relented and Magray was buried at the graveyard.

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