Omar says CISF firing ‘inexcusable’, promises justice

Srinagar, Jan 3 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday met the family of the student killed in CISF firing and said he would leave no stone unturned to ensure justice for the victim of the ‘inexcusable use of force’.

‘Even if I have to knock the doors of the court, I will get justice for the father who lost his son yesterday,’ Abdullah said in Boniyar in Baramulla, about 90 km from here, a day after 18-year-old Altaf Ahmad Sood was killed when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers fired at people protesting against power cuts.

Two protesters were injured.

‘The excessive use of force was unwarranted,’ Abdullah told a television channel. ‘That is the case that has been filed, that is the case we will pursue in the course of justice.’

The chief minister added that it was unclear what Altaf was doing at the protest – it was possible he was walking past, whether he was going for his studies…

‘That is irrelevant. He was shot twice in the chest. It is an inexcusable use of force,’ Abdullah said.

‘We will whatever use whatever law we have to to ensure that justice is done,’ he added.

Abdullah, who visited the bereaved family Tuesday to express his condolences, told a group of locals that their demand for enhanced electric power supply was justified.

He promised that they would get enhanced electric power supply within two days and regretted that a precious life was lost during the protests.

Despite the strong words, protests again erupted in Boniyar after the chief minister left. Locals pelted stones at official vehicles and blocked the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway that passes through Boniyar.

Five CISF troopers were arrested Monday. A magisterial probe by additional deputy commissioner (Baramulla), to be completed in 15 days, has also been ordered into the incident by the state government.

Rs.1 lakh has been sanctioned as ex gratia relief for the next of kin of the deceased student.

Abdullah had said Monday that the CISF had been hired by the NHPC for the security of its power station and was not protected under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as it was not part of the counter insurgency grid.

Public protests against erratic electric power supply have been witnessed at many places in the Kashmir Valley, which is battling a cold winter for the last one month.

While the electric department blames low water discharge in the rivers for the reduced generation of power in the state, they also accuse consumers of pilferage.

Abdullah has said he would approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek additional electricity power import into the state.