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70-year-old`s killing during gunbattle sparks controversy in J&K

Last Updated: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 19:52

Srinagar: The killing of a 70-year-old
man during a gunbattle between security forces and militants
has sparked a controversy following conflicting claims on
whether he was with the ultras or not.

The family of Habibullah Khan of Dewar-Lolab in
Kupwara claimed that he was a beggar and not an ultra while
Army said that he was possibly being exploited as a guide or
human shield by terrorists.
Opposition PDP alleged that it was a "cold blooded"
murder and demanded action against personnel responsible for

The deceased was identified by his son Raj Mohammad
Khan at Handwara police station where the body was kept after
his killing on April 14 morning.

Raj said his father was a beggar and not a militant,
according to a police officer.

Army today said that April 13 night, a team of
Rashtriya Rifles troops was involved in a gunbattle in the
Rainwari Forest in Handwara, 60 km from here, which lasted
10-15 minutes after which the terrorists escaped in the thick

"Consequently, the area was searched after day break,
and a body was recovered, while one AK 47 with ammunition was
found in close vicinity of the body.
"The killed person along with the recovery was handed
over to the police on morning of 14 April and FIR lodged", the
army said in a statement.

"As per our assessment, this was a group of terrorists
and possibly the deceased was being exploited as a
guide or human shield".

"It is believed that the weapon and ammunition recovered
was possibly dropped by the fleeing terrorists," it said.

The statement said police investigations were in
progress, to ascertain the identity of the individual.

PDP MLA from Lolab Abdul Haq along with other party
workers today took the body to his native place in Lolab.
Haq demanded action against those involved in the killing.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, in a statement here,
alleged that the killing "was glaring example insensitivity of
the ruling coalition" and claimed that the man was shot dead
from point blank range.

She also opposed frisking of people in the Valley.
"Frisking and crackdown is against the dignity and honour of
the common people," she said.


First Published: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 19:52
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