Mourners carrying dead attacked with shells

Class 10 students laid to rest amid anti-India protests

Srinagar: At least thirty five persons were injured after men in uniform fired tear gas shells and pellets on mourner carrying body of 16-year-old Qaiser Hameed Sofi who died at SKIMS Soura on Friday night.

Qaiser, a resident of Shalimar went missing on October 27, 2016 and was found next day lying unconscious in a drain. He was rushed to SKIMS Soura where he was in coma for some days and lost battle of his life around 10 PM on Friday night. Qaiser’s body was taken to his ancestral home at Ganderpora Safakadal around 11:30 PM Friday night. “On Saturday morning, as his body was being prepared for funeral, government forces first resorted to aerial firing and then fired tear smoke canisters and pellets on mourners causing injuries to scores of people including some females.

SMHS Hospital Srinagar received over half a dozen injured civilians from the area. “We are in the process of treating the injured people who have pellet injuries in legs and abdomen,” a doctor said.

The mourners according to reports consistently marched towards Martyrs Graveyard Eidgah amid intense tear smoke creating suffocation in the atmosphere. “Soon, hundreds of people came out in protests and clashes erupted,” the eyewitness added, “the forces resorted to ransacking damaging private property in Sekidafar, Ganderpora and adjoining localities.”

Qaiser was finally laid to rest around 10:30 AM in the Martyrs Graveyard. Son of an artisan father, Qaiser was a class tenth student at Meerak Shah School Shalimar.

“The day he went missing, there was a scheduled Muharram procession barred by authorities,” Ayash, his cousin, told news agency CNS. “There was instability in the area and people were chased by forces many a times.” He said that Qaiser was seen last time around 12:30 PM on Thursday and then went missing.

“We searched for him; we went everywhere possible but he was found nowhere,” he said.

Finally, the family of Qaiser approached Nishat Police Station and then Police Station Harwan where cops said: “we have not arrested Qaiser”. “We were told to come again on Friday with a photo of missing Qaiser.” Ayash said that it was around 4 PM when Qaiser’s family received a call on October 28, 2016. “The caller told his father that his son’s body was found near CIA Complex, Shalimar,” he added. They rushed to the spot and saw some youth taking Qaiser to Hospital. “Qaiser lay in a drain,” Abdul Hameed Sofi, his father said. “We rushed him to SKIMS Soura where he was administered oxygen and we changed his clothes.”

“Qaiser recovered after some time on Friday evening,” Sofi said, “he opened his eyes and told his mother: I was arrested by forces and given poison before they beat me ruthlessly.” However, police denied the charge out-rightly.

Sofi said that Qaiser was lying on a bed in Casualty ward of SKIMS and almost twenty persons including doctors are witness to what Qaiser said. “Be hey moodus, Mouji,” Sofi recounted the last words of his slain son to his mother.

Ayash said that his body including chest, hands and legs had marks of injuries—a claim confirmed by doctors at SKIMS Soura. “Poison had circulated all over his body,” Ayash said quoting doctors, “he had suffered kidney failure as well.”

“One son of Sofi was admitted in the same hospital for months together last year,” Ayash said. Sofi family migrated to Shalimar a few years ago. They are natives of Ganderpora, Safakadal. Quoting medical history of the slain youth, doctors at SKIMS Soura said, “Qaiser’s case was that of poison as well as assault.” “After stomach wash,” a doctor said, “we sent samples to FSL and are awaiting report. He had marks of injuries on his body and his brain was damaged as well. It was not a simple case of poisoning.”

Police have registered a case FIR number 95/2016 under section 309 RPC regarding a boy who was found lying near CIE complex Shalimar with froth oozing from his mouth.The SHO Nishat police station said, “the boy had consumed poison on his own.”

Pertinently, the case of Qaiser was unknown until lately freed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted on Oct 31: “QaiserSofi, a 16-year-old student of Mirak Shah School, beaten, tortured & forcibly fed a germicide called “Neva” by armed forces battling for his life at SKIMS, Soura where he is on a ventilator. Such cruelty and barbarity find few parallels in today’s age.” He also issued a detailed statement over the incident. (CNS)

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