While both CRPF and J&K Police have fired bullet and pellet guns which led to the loss of around 60 lives and the loss of sight in one or both eyes by more than hundred people – most of them teenagers, it is the state police personnel who are facing the public backlash for their role in crowd-control.
People are naming the police personnel allegedly responsible for the use of excessive force on protests and threatening them with dire consequences. What is more, even separatist groups have named some police officials deployed for law and order activity, blaming them for visiting excesses on their own brethren.
The officer who has evoked the most public anger is DSP Yasir Qadiri, alleged to have killed a youth named Shabir Ahmad Mir at Tengpora in Srinagar on July 10. The FIR against Qadiri has become a bone of contention between the state government and the judiciary with the former refusing to accept the repeated court orders for registering a case against the accused official. The court acted on an application from the deceased youth’s father Abdur Rahman Mir, who alleged that Qadiri had killed Shabir in cold blood in their house.
This is what Rahman’s affidavit read:
“A police party, led by DSP Yasir Qadri, forcefully entered their house and started smashing window panes and doors. On seeing this, the applicant’s wife tried to stop the police official, but he got infuriated, slapped and assaulted her. The official also hurled invective on the woman and since the son of the applicant, Shabbir, was present on the spot, he could not bear beating up of his mother and tried to rescue her. On this, the police official started beating up Shabir. Not satisfied, the police official opened his pistol and fired two shots at the applicant’s son from a point-blank range. Shabir died on the spot”.
Now, protesters are seeking stern action against Qadiri. Hundreds of people on Wednesday staged protests at Tengpora, demanding action under law against the police official. People raised anti-police and anti-government slogans.
“We can’t believe why despite the court orders, the state government is shielding Qadiri,” said a protester. “We want a case registered against him”.
Outside Qadiri’s house in Hazratbal, a graffiti on a wall describes him as a “murderer” with an arrow pointing in the direction of his residence. Similarly, on August 6, Hurriyat named another police official for the alleged indiscriminate use of the pellet guns at South Kashmir’s Khanabal area.
“Without any provocation, he (name withheld) resorted to pellet-shelling, injuring dozens of people, including at least seven women, who received pellet injuries in their private parts. This criminal and butcher is warned that it is high time that rogues and killers like you should be brought to book. We cannot stop people from tackling you directly,” a press release issued by the Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani read.
Later, when the identified police officer’s family went to meet Geelani to clarify the situation, he declined to meet them and asked them to seek forgiveness from the families of the victims of his alleged action.
Similarly in North Kashmir’s Sopore town, SP Harmeet Singh has received warnings from protesters who blame him for the use of disproportionate force on them. “Harmeet, a warning for you. Your death is our mission,” a graffiti on a wall read.