Civilian driver speaks out, says Indian army shot teenager

Civilian driver speaks out, says Indian army shot teenager

Srinagar, July 01: A civilian driver, who was hired by the Indian Army for ferrying the troops to the village in Kashmir where two youth were killed in firing, on Monday he said that it is India army not police who killed Irfan Ahmed of Markundal village north Kashmir. “There was no one else there when the first burst of firing took place …. There was only the army,” Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh, one of the five civilian drivers hired for the operation by the army, told reporters. Two youth were killed in firing in Markundal village of Sumbal area in Bandipora district yesterday, trigerring massive protests in the area. Sheikh said the vehicles were called to the Safapora army camp on Saturday and at 11.00 pm they started moving. “We were told that some army personnel have to be dropped in Sonamarg area. We (however) proceeded towards Markundal village,” he said. The driver said around 4.00 am on Sunday, he and other drivers heard firing shots. Some time later, they heard wails of women, he added. The Army, while ordering an inquiry into the incident, had said the operation at Markundal was jointly conducted with local police. Police refuses army claim.
Update: Here is Kashmir Life report:-
Three days before twin civilian killings in Sumbul, Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh, 26, a truck driver by profession received a call from an army major stationed at Hajin camp who asked him to check out the damaged outer wall of Army Goodwill School Hajin. “I checked the damaged wall and made an estimate for repair works and called major back,” Manzoor, who is a resident of Markunadal, Sumabal told Kashmir Life. Next day at 3 PM army major called Manzoor again and instructed him to meet the man in-charge of the repair works at Safapora camp and inform him about the repairing costs. “We used to call that man in-charge Porter Master,” said Manzoor.On Saturday Manzoor reached the camp and met the Porter Master. “I told him about the repairing costs and he said, ‘okay we will start work soon’,” said Manzoor. But as Manzoor was about to leave, Porter Master told to stay as he might have to go to Sonamarg with a truck load of supplies. Manzoor owns a tipper and had worked with the army previously. “There were five other drivers who were waiting inside the camp with their mini trucks (3 Tata mobile mini trucks and 2 Tata 407 make trucks) to go to Sonamarg,” said Manzoor. At around 11 PM, army men climbed into the back of the five mini trucks and covered themselves up with tarpaulin. “Then they ordered me to climb into one of the mini trucks as spare driver,” said Manzoor. Then the trucks sped into the darkness of the night towards Markundal village in Sumbul. “As we reached Markundal, army men jumped out of the truck and spread into the village quickly. We were ordered to stay in the vehicles. They ran from one house to another leaving behind a trial of noise,” said Manzoor. Manzoor, who is himself a resident of Markundal village, heard people coming out of their houses shouting, choer ha choer ha (thief, thief) from some distance. Within few minutes Manzoor heard some gunshots fired in the distance which rang through the stillness of the night. “Someone in the distance was shouting Irfan, Irfan. My heart almost stopped beating as I knew something bad has happened,” said Maznoor. Within moments army men came running towards the vehicle Manzoor was sitting inside. “He told the driver to move the vehicle as they are leaving. There was hue and cry everywhere but I was not sure what has happened,” said Manzoor. “Upon hearing the cries (of Irfan’s family) people started coming out of their houses. Army men quickly jumped into the vehicles and fired some shots in the air and left,” said Manzoor. “From Markundal we drove straight to the Safapora camp. None of us was allowed to go home till 1 PM the next day i.e. Sunday,” said Manzoor. While leaving the Murkundal he was spotted by some locals who thought Manzoor too is involved in the killing. Manzoor didn’t go to his home as he feared for his life. “I feel guilty for being there and doing nothing to save my villagers,” said Manzoor.

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