Omar says CISF firing `inexcusable`, promises justice

Omar Abdullah slammed the CISF over the killing of a youth during firing on protesters.

Uri: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah on Tuesday slammed the CISF over the killing of a
youth during firing on protesters, accusing it of using
"excessive" force which was "unwarranted and inexcusable".

As the incident during protests against power shortage
outside NHPC-run Uri Power Project at Boniyar yesterday
sparked an outrage, Omar flew in from the winter capital Jammu
and met the family members of Altaf Ahmad at Barnait village
in Uri tehsil, 90 kms from Srinagar.

Omar told the family his government will spare no effort
in ensuring exemplary punishment to the Central Industrial
Security Force (CISF) personnel responsible for the killing.
Five CISF personnel were arrested hours after the incident.

He said the CISF action cannot be seen as done in self
defence going by the location of injuries on the body of Ahmad
and the number of rounds fired.

"The circumstances of his (Altaf`s) death are tragic,
shocking and inexcusable," Omar wrote on the microblogging
site Twitter and told reporters after meeting the family.

Omar further said the "excessive" use of force was

"The government will spare no effort in handing over
severe punishment to the culprits. Justice will be done," he

This was Omar’s first visit to family of a victim of
firing by security forces since taking over as Chief Minister
in 2009.

"Even if we have to move any court or take course to
any law to punish the personnel behind the killing of Altaf
Ahmad, we would do so positively," he asserted. The Chief
Minister said no one was sure whether the youth was even part
of the protests.

CISF Chief NR Das also visited the firing spot and said
his force will conduct a parallel internal inquiry into the
incident. He promised that the guilty will be punished.

Das said initial reports suggested that his men were
"outnumbered" at the protest site.

"We are finding out why this incident has taken place
and we will make our own internal inquiry," Das said, adding
"CISF has always been a very humane force and having a good
contact with the locals and not a single incident has taken
place." He said the CISF has been in the area since 1992.

Omar cautioned the people against drawing parallels
between death of Ahmad and teenager Tufail Matoo, whose death
in 2010 was seen as fuelling the five-month long summer unrest
that left 120 persons dead and hundreds injured.

"If we had responded as effectively as in Tufail`s
incident, perhaps the peace would not have broken then either.

"Though I am sure some amongst your fraternity will be
rushing to compare this to Tufail Mattoo and go down that road
again," he said in response to a tweet from a journalist.

Meanwhile, state cabinet minister and local MLA Taj
Mohiuddin had to face some embarassing moments as he was not
allowed to address the people, eyewitnesses told PTI.

They said the people raised slogans against the
minister, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat.

Several mainstream and separatist leaders also visited
the bereaved family.

Opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti accused the
Omar government of being busy in a survival game while
ignoring the basic needs of the people.

"This government has failed on all fronts, which has
led to the latest incident," Mehbooba said.

Separatist JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik also
visited the family and urged the local people not to resort to
violence during protests.

"The killing is condemnable and we have to protest.
However, the protests should be peaceful," he added.

Uri town observed a general strike against the
killing and held protests at some places including Boniyar and

Local residents also forced the Hindustan Construction
Corporation (HCC) to suspend work on the second phase of Uri
power project.

Addressing a public gathering in Uri, the Chief
Minister said his current visit to the remote village is only
to console the bereaved family and assure that the killers of
Ahmad would not be allowed to go scot-free.