‘Police officer shot Kashmir teen after asking him to run’

The 15-year-old boy Suhail Ahmad Sofi, who was shot dead by government forces in Narbal area on the outskirts of this summer capital Srinagar, was not part of any stone-throwing protest but had gone out to see whether his school was open in wake of strike call, his cousin, who claims to be a witness of the incident, said Saturday.

The slain boy’s cousin, Tariq Ahmad Sofi, said: “Today morning some youths pelted stones on vehicles plying on Srinagar-Gulmarg road. In the meantime, policemen arrived in two vehicles including a gypsy and an armoured vehicle and chased them away.”

Suhail, he said, too fled amid the melee that followed the chase by policemen but was caught by an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Manzoor Ahmad.

“The officer told him why are you pelting stones but Suhail categorically told him that he was not pelting stones but wanted to see whether the school is open or shut,” Tariq, who is a driver by profession, said.

He added: “the ASI told him to run and as he ran he shot him from back side in the lower back and the bullet pierced through his heart.”

“Not only did I witness the incident but around twenty people were present there in the Sumo Stand. I was standing some 10 to 20 feet from the spot,” he claimed.

As soon as Suhail was shot, Tariq said, people rushed to lift him while some others chased away the ASI who ran towards nearby bridge and called Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to block it.

Tariq said the soon after the incident, people came out on the roads and announcements were made on mosque loudspeakers. In response, people poured onto the streets in huge numbers and staged protest against police and CRPF.

“We took Suhail to Jhelum Valley Hospital but he breathed his last on the way and doctors at the hospital told us that he is no more,” Tariq said.

“The two other youth were not injured when Suhail was shot but they sustained injuries in second incident of firing during clashes.”

According to Tariq, the slain teenager was the student of 10th standard. “He was a brilliant student in whole Narbal area,” he said. Suhail’s father is a retired forest official and was brother of four siblings including two sisters.

“His elder brother is married and another is handicapped but unmarried. Also, one of his sisters is married but another is unmarried and she too is handicapped,” Tariq said.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat said that if anyone is witness to the incident, he should record his statement.