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Serial Killings Of Teenaged Boys In Police Action
Cause Anguish, Fear Psychosis Among Parents

By Bismah Malik

14 May, 2010
Kashmir Times

SRINAGAR, June 12: The killing of Tufail Ahmad, a teenaged boy in police action at Gani Memorial Stadium is yet another indicator of the unabated killings of teenaged boys, continuing despite assurance of zero tolerance to human rights violations, in Kashmir.

These serial innocent killings have generated anguish and fear psychosis among the parents regarding the safety of their children under prevailing circumstances.
The situation at present is reminiscent to some extent of early 90s when people were reluctant to send their teenaged sons outside due to the fear that they may be arrested and killed by the security forces.

When the infamous “Operation Tiger,” by the security personnel, marking the beginning of organised fake encounters was started in early 90s, large number of boys were picked up and killed in custody during crackdowns

They included teenaged students from all over the valley particularly the old city of Srinagar. The incidents of fake encounters in Kashmir by security forces got exposed with Maroof Sultan’s case in 90s. He was one such intended target of fake encounter. Maroof was arrested by BSF while he was traveling in a bus which was stopped at Solina. Maroof was taken to the infamous Papa II interrogation centre where he was brutally tortured and then the security men brought him to Solina bund in the darkness during night and showered bullets on him. Believing him dead, the BSF men left him there and reported to Shergari Police Station that they had killed a militant in an encounter at Solina Bund and recovered a gun from his possession.

The BSF men then asked the cops to recover the body from the spot. As the police party immediately reached the spot they found Maroof alive and in a very critical condition. The injured boy was taken to hospital where he recovered after a long time to reveal the truth to the world.

Later, scores of Kashmiri boys fell prey to bullets in the fake encounters.

And now, the situation is almost taking the same turn. While the teenaged boys in the past were getting killed in crackdowns, now they fall victim to bullets during demonstrations.

“With demonstrations and subsequent police action being order of the day, I remain concerned about the safety of my son when he goes to school or some other work,” said Tehmeena, a housewife.

“On any tense day, my son returning home safe is a huge sigh of relief for me. Parents in the valley are apprehensive of the security of their children even when they go to school,” she added.

Sharing similar views, Abdul Ahad, a businessman, said, “The government must do something practical to address the sense of insecurity getting developed among the parents. Stopping of killing of the boys during demonstrations would be an important step in this direction.”

He viewed that mere promise of zero tolerance for human rights violations may impress those outside Kashmir but not the ones living in Kashmir. “The ground situation is that the zero tolerance does not exist at all. If it existed, then Tufail, Zahid, Wamiq and others would not have got killed,” Ahad said.
Zahid was killed on Boulevard Road near Nishat when a BSF party opened fire on him.

Wamiq was killed near Gani Memorial Stadium while he was playing. He was killed by a smoke shell which hit his head. Even after his death, police booked him under attempt to murder case blaming him for pelting stones on cops. The charge was vehemently denied by the family of the deceased boy and eyewitness. Later the state government ordered a magisterial probe into Wamiq’s killing.

“Killing after killing of innocent children and the justification of such killings by the authorities, has all led to frustration among common people here. They do not believe the promises made by authorities for human rights,” said Muntazir Ahmad, a human rights activist.