Srinagar, July 2 (GNS): While maintaining that civilian was killed due to firing by militants in Sopore, Special DG of CRPF Zulfiqar Hassan on Thursday claimed the 3-year-old was rescued by a paramilitary trooper.
The officer’s statement is at variance with that of the police’s claims that the “local SHO risked his life to save the child.”
“The CRPF had gone for duty at one particular crossing in that district and when we reached the spot the militants had already taken position inside the Masjid and they started firing at the CRPF party from inside the Masjid,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the wreath-laying ceremony of a trooper killed in the incident on July 1.
“The CRPF retaliated the fire very bravely and the role of the boy (killed CRPF trooper) was very significant. The retaliation was effective,” he said, adding, “While this retaliation and firing, a private person came in a car and he got into the melee. Unfortunately when he was getting down and I think we are still to reconsider properly, we assume that when he was trying to get the child out of the car, he was shot on the back by the militant fire from the Masjid.”
He further said: “All of us have gone to the spot and seen the angle of the fire and we are very clear technically that this is the bullet of the militant that killed the man.”
“The child obviously was very scared and he was rescued by the boy of the CRPF who was there close by and he took care of the child till the firing by the militants continued. The militants were forced to flee away.”
The officer said the militant went back and from rear side of the mosque they fled away. “The retaliation by the CRPF was effective. Inside the mosque we find more the sixty empties (cartridges) plus to magazines. This shows that the militants had taken position well in time and they were waiting inside the masjid for the CRPF party to arrive. I find this use of the mosque for such activities highly reprehensible,” he said, according to GNS correspondent. “I think so far we have, from all the forces, highest respect for all the religions. We do not ever enter into a religious place knowing the sentiments of the citizen of the place. However this use, repeated use as this is not for the first time they have done it, I think and I appeal to the masjid committees of the Valley as well as the citizens that at least secure the religious places and not allow them to be hijacked.”
Terming the civilians killing as very unfortunate incident, he reiterated: “Obviously that road is the busy road and he got caught in the firing by the militants.”
He said some people are “trying to give it a spin by saying that CRPF took him out of the vehicle and shot him”.
“This is totally untrue. I would say with full responsibility after visiting the place and after talking to everyone and after examining a lot of technical details and including cameras, we are very confident of what has happened,” he said, adding, “The unfortunate civilian who died has been killed by the militants firing from the mosque and there is no question of CRPF being involved. In fact CRPF was restrained so that mosque does not suffer damage.”
Asked about the annual Amarnathji Yatra, the police officer said: “We are still waiting for details about yatra and as and when we are all prepared and we will be making all the due arrangements.” (GNS)