Omar calls civilian killing ‘another needless death’


Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has condemned the killing of a youth in an army ambush as “another needless death in a bloody Kashmir” that could have been avoided if a “suggestion” made by him had been implemented.

Support TwoCircles

Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter, Abdullah posted: “How can one not condemn the death of 21-year-old Manzoor at the hands of the army late last night? Another needless death in a bloody Kashmir.”

Manzoor Ahmad Magray, 24, a resident of Chogal village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, some 70 km from here, was killed at around 10.30 p.m. Friday when he walked into an ambush laid by the army for separatist guerrillas, police said.

The chief minister said he was trying to understand the circumstances in which the man was killed but there were “not enough answers”.

“Have been trying to understand the circumstances. Lots of questions but not enough answers at the moment,” he wrote.

He said a suggestion made by him at the Unified Command, comprising the chief minister, home minister and army, police and security officers, could have prevented the incident, and the knowledge of that was making him upset.

“I am even more upset with the knowledge that if a suggestion of mine, made in the Unified Command, could have avoided this incident,” he posted.

The army has expressed regret over the killing. “The death of the civilian is regrettable, but we followed the rules of engagement,” an army officer said.

Police maintained that the army laid an ambush on specific information about the presence of guerrillas in the area.

“Unfortunately, the villager walked into the ambush, and noticing suspicious movement, the troops opened fire resulting in his death,” said a police officer.

The deceased worked for the Border Roads Organisation and his father is an activist of the ruling National Conference.

Locals in Chogal village are holding protests against the killing.