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Civilian killed in J&K army ambush
Published on 5 Feb. 2011 11:23 PM IST
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A civilian was shot dead in an army ambush, in the first such killing in Jammu and Kashmir this year. Police swiftly registered a murder case against the soldiers Saturday and a magisterial enquiry was ordered into the incident.
Manzoor Ahmad Magray, 24, was killed in an ambush laid by the army for separatist guerrillas in Chogal village of Kupwara district, around 70 km from here, at 10.30 p.m. Friday.
“An FIR (26/2011) under section 302 (murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) has been registered in Handwara police station against the security men deployed in Gund Chogal village on the night of Feb 4-5,” a senior police officer said here.
The additional district magistrate of Kupwara will also conduct a magisterial probe into the incident and furnish the report within a fortnight, an officer of the divisional administration said here.
Hundreds of villagers blocked the road near Chogal village with the body of the slain villager.
After assurances from the authorities, the relatives agreed to bury the body.
While the army said the civilian had walked into the ambush that had been laid for the separatists, relatives and locals demanded action against the guilty.
It was also alleged by relatives that the youth was forcibly taken out of his home by soldiers before the firing incident.
In a statement, the army regretted the civilian’s death saying: “At approximately 22.30 hours, troops detected suspicious movement of two persons coming towards the ambush (site).
“In accordance with standard operating procedure, troops challenged the individuals to surrender, both the individuals instead attempted to run away, upon which the troops opened fire, resulting in fatal injuries to Manzoor Ahmad Magray.
“We deeply and sincerely express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. The army, although strictly adhering to the challenging procedures as per the rules of engagement, regrets the loss, more so as the year has been declared by the army as the Year of Kashmiri Awam,” the statement said.
Last year over 100 civilians were killed in firing by the security forces in the Kashmir Valley during clashes with stone-pelting protesters.
Another needless death: Omar
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has condemned the killing of a youth in an army ambush as “another needless death in a bloody Kashmir” that could have been avoided if a “suggestion” made by him had been implemented.
Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter, Abdullah posted: “How can one not condemn the death of 21-year-old Manzoor at the hands of the army late last night? Another needless death in a bloody Kashmir.”
Manzoor Ahmad Magray, 24, a resident of Chogal village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, some 70 km from here, was killed at around 10.30 p.m. Friday when he walked into an ambush laid by the army for separatist guerrillas, police said.
The chief minister said he was trying to understand the circumstances in which the man was killed but there were “not enough answers”.
“Have been trying to understand the circumstances. Lots of questions but not enough answers at the moment,” he wrote.
He said a suggestion made by him at the Unified Command, comprising the chief minister, home minister and army, police and security officers, could have prevented the incident, and the knowledge of that was making him upset.
“I am even more upset with the knowledge that if a suggestion of mine, made in the Unified Command, could have avoided this incident,” he posted. The army has expressed regret over the killing. “The death of the civilian is regrettable, but we followed the rules of engagement,” an army officer said.
Police maintained that the army laid an ambush on specific information about the presence of guerrillas in the area.
“Unfortunately, the villager walked into the ambush, and noticing suspicious movement, the troops opened fire resulting in his death,” said a police officer.
The deceased worked for the Border Roads Organisation and his father is an activist of the ruling National Conference. Locals in Chogal village are holding protests against the killing.

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