A seven-member team of business and trade bodies, after meeting next of kin of firing victims and civil society in Kupwara, Sunday demanded the “immediate removal of bunkers from main market places and educational institutions, particularly the bunker in the main Chowk of Handwara market”.
The team also demanded a time-bound enquiry through an independent and reliable agency into the alleged molestation incident and firing by forces. The other demands include lodging of FIR against the culprits for murder and the revocation of AFSPA.
The demands were made Sunday during a press conference by the team which consisted of the President, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, Secretary General, Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Inc) (KCC&I), Mohammad Yasin Khan, Chairman/President, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA)/Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), President, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Federation Chamber of industries Kashmir(FCIK), Siraj Ahmad Spokes Person, KEA, Bashir Ahmad Kongposh General Secretary, KTMF, Riyaz Ahmad Executive Member, KTMF. The team visited Handwara and parts of Kupwara district to make an on the spot assessment of the situation arising out of the unprovoked firing by government forces that lead to death of five persons in Handwara and Kupwara.
“The team met the members of Civil Society and trading community at handwara and Bumhamma- three kilometers from Kupwara since the team was not allowed to proceed beyond that point by the police. Aijaz Ahmad, President, Traders Federation Handwara accompanied the team,” said a spokesman.
The team, he said, was informed that people were protesting over the molestation of a school girl and the forces without resorting to standard operating procedures (SOP) to disperse the protestors resorted to firing that killed the budding cricketer Mohammad Nayeem who was shopping in the market for his cricket trip outside the state.
He added: “The firing also claimed the life of a young boy of Shallapora Peer Iqbal of Village Shallapora, District Kupwara who was working as a salesman in a shop in Handwara market. The team visited the residence of both the deceased and offered condolences and expressed solidarity with the families and people of the area.”
“A woman who was working in her farm at Langate received bullet injuries and later succumbed to gun injuries at Soura Medical Institute.
Another youth Arif Dar was killed in forces firing at Nuthnussa, Handwara. He was a resident of Ovura , Kupwara. Another Youth Jehangir Ahmad Wani also became victim at the hands of Government forces being hit by a shell at Nagri.”
The team was informed that there was complete curfew for the past five days without any relaxation causing untold suffering to the people particularly children, sick and old people.
The team also observed the suffering of the people and found large number of army, police and paramilitary personnel spread across the length and breadth of Handwara and Kupwara areas.