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J&K: Teacher's death triggers protests, soldier held
Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar |
October 20, 2007 15:32 IST
Last Updated: October 20, 2007 20:30 IST
Angered by the death of a school teacher, who was allegedly murdered by jawans, over 5,000 protesters torched an Army vehicle in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Saturday.
Relatives and protesters claimed that Abdul Rashid Mir, a school teacher hailing from Rawatpora in Kupwara, had been killed by some soldiers on Friday.
Reacting to the public protests, the Army said that it had arrested the soldier whose weapon had been used to kill the teacher. But the Army claimed that the weapon was discharged accidentally. "Sepoy Mohammad Tariq was arrested today and he is in military custody for further investigations. The inquiry will look into all aspects of the incident and the allegations leveled by the villagers," a defence spokesman said in Srinagar [Images] on Saturday.
However, the villagers had a different story to tell. According to them Mir used to accompany his female colleagues to school through the dense forest in the area. The Army jawans had allegedly warned Mir against doing so and they even snatched his identity card on Thursday.
The villagers also claimed that they had spotted some jawans trying to hide Mir's body in the nearby forest on Friday. "We snatched the unfortunate teacher's body from the jawans and carried it to the village," said Mir's neighbours.
But the defence spokesman said, "The Choukibal-Drangyari road is manned by the Army to ensure the safe passage of convoys on the road. A person came towards the road near one of the stop locations. He was halted and told to prove his identity by the soldiers on duty. Instead of showing his identity papers, the man got into an argument with the soldiers. Amidst this confusion, a soldiers' weapon got accidentally discharged and caused fatal injuries to Abdul Rashid Mir."
"An inquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident. The Army regrets this unfortunate incident leading to the death of Mr Abdul Rashid," the spokesman added.
The body of the slain teacher was buried in the village graveyard at Rawatpora on Saturday afternoon after senior civil and police officers assured angry protestors that the matter will be investigated properly.