A civilian was killed this morning in the Zainpora village of Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir today. There are multiple versions by the police and security forces over the circumstances that led to the killing of Shahid Ajaz, a local apple seller. He was shot at near a security forces' camp.
Pictures of Mr Ajaz's body lying near his vehicle show the young man rested against the wheel of a vehicle with his arms inside his "pheran" - a form of cloak worn by locals.
The police said that they were investigating the case and initial reports suggest that Ajaz, who appears to be in his 20s, was killed in a crossfire.
"Around 10:30 hrs unidentified terrorists attacked a Naka party of 178 Bn, CRPF at Babapora, Shopian. CRPF retaliated the fire and during cross-firing, one unidentified person got killed. Further details are being ascertained," the Shopian district police tweeted.
Around 1030 hrs unidentified terrorists attacked a Naka party of 178 Bn, CRPF at Babapora, Shopian. CRPF retaliated the fire and during cross firing one unidentified person got killed. Further details are being ascertained.@JmuKmrPolice@KashmirPolice@DigSkr— DISTRICT POLICE SHOPIAN (@ShopianPolice) October 24, 2021
Initially, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had suggested that they opened fire after there was an attempt of snatching weapons. Other reports suggest that the CRPF opened fire on suspicion.
Locals say there was some altercation between the apple seller and CRPF personnel when he was stopped at a camp of the security forces. The CRPF opened fire and the young man was killed on the spot.
This is the second such civilian killing this month near a picket of security forces in South Kashmir.
Two weeks ago, Parvez Ahmad was killed in Anantnag after CRPF personnel opened fire on a vehicle he was travelling in. According to the police, the CRPF had fired in "self-defence".
The incidents of targeted killings by terrorists have also become a major security challenge in Kashmir. 11 civilians including migrant labourers have been killed this month.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is currently on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. During a security review meeting yesterday, he reportedly reprimanded top officials of the security forces for the recent spike in terrorist attacks.
Publicly, the Home Minister said that after the reading down of section 370 two years ago, news from Kashmir has changed from terrorism and stone pelting to development.