The death of a 22-year-old man, Qaiser Amin Bhat, who died after a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) vehicle ran over him at Nowhatta in Srinagar on Friday might serve as a big blow to the ongoing Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.
A 20-second video posted by the J&K Police and various journalists on Twitter shows the local youth pelting stones at the CRPF vehicle and gheraoing it and a civilian being run over by the van towards the end of the video.
Qaiser succumbed to his injuries at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on Saturday. His body was brought to downtown Srinagar for funeral triggering a fresh wave of stone pelting and sloganeering in the area. Police resorted to teargas and lathicharge to dispel the crowd.
This is the second incident of such kind in the valley over last one month. Earlier, a civilian, Aadil Ahmad Yadoo, was killed when a Special Operation Group (SOG), J&K Police, vehicle ran over him in Safa Kadal area of downtown Srinagar.
A video showing Aadil being run over by a police vehicle had gone viral.
Former Chief Minister and Working President of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Omar Abdullah was quick to react to Qaiser's death and took a dig at CM Mehbooba Mufti and the central government's ceasefire announcement.
He tweeted, "Earlier they tied people to the fronts of jeeps & paraded them around villages to deter protestors now they just drive their jeeps right over protestors. Is this your new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) @MehboobaMufti sahiba? Ceasefire means no guns so use jeeps?"
The ruling Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party's spokesperson, Waheed Para, refuted Omar's allegations and reminded him of the civilian casualties during his government's tenure
While locals and many human rights activists called the civilian deaths as a blatant use of force to quell protests, the J&K police have challenged the versions and stated that the security forces' vehicle was torched by the protestors which led to the civilian coming under the CRPF van.
JKNC spokesperson Junaid Mattu questioned the protest control measures adopted by the J&K Police to combat the protesting crowd.
He tweeted, "Almost every single civilian casualty in Kashmir is due to continued, repeated failures at crowd control, sanitisation of encounter sites and policing blunders. It's not rocket science! You allow a CRPF gypsy to speed through a hostile crowd - didn't you know this could happen?"
The J&K Police also tweeted several pictures of locals stone pelting at the CRPF vehicle, contesting claims of a civilian being deliberately crushed to death to subdue the protests.
In May, the J&K Police had called the incident of a civilian death who also appeared to have been crushed under the police van as a "road accident."
"One person identified as Adil Ahmad Yadoo was brought to SMHS hospital whom doctors declared brought dead. Medical bulletin suggests that the person died due to a crush injury in a road traffic accident at noorbagh. Citizens may not pay heed to rumours.@JmuKmrPolice," Kashmir Zone Police had tweeted.
Ironically, the police later stated that a legal action would be taken against the driver of the police vehicle.
BJP President Amit Shah had even specified that the ceasefire is particularly aimed at the civilians in the valley.
The United Jihad Council (UJC), a conglomerate of various militant organizations, had, however, cast doubts on the ceasefire move by the Indian government and stressed on the initiation of the dialogue for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.