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Gowhar was shot point blank, claims family

Srinagar: People offering funeral prayers of 22-year old Gowhar Rather of Kangan who was injured during clashes with forces and succumbes to his injuries,in Srinagar on Tuesday. Violent protests erupt in valley in which dozens injured so far after the killing of 20 persons including 13 militants , 4 civilians and 3 Army men in Shopian encounters. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie

By Zishan Amiri

Srinagar, Apr 03: Gowhar Ahmad Rather of Kangan area in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district succumbed to injuries on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old was declared dead almost 24 hours after he had been shifted to the SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on Monday with a critical head injury allegedly caused by the bullet fired by the government forces.
The medical report provided to his family by the hospital clearly states that Gowhar had “suffered a firearm injury that caused internal bleeding in his brain”.
The police, however, refuted the charges levelled by Gowhar’s family, claiming that the youth got injured by stumbling into a drain during a chase.
“He was shot point-blank. The police is a puppet in the hands of the government. And they say they are here to serve us? No, they are here to kill innocents. Liars,” said Gowhar’s elder brother, Shabir Rather.
“He was shot at and left to die. We want justice.”
As per Shabir, the incident took place at around 5:30 pm on Monday, when Gowhar and their youngest brother, Danish Rather, stepped out of the Jamia Masjid after evening prayers.
Narrating the incident, Shabir said, “They both were walking towards the shop where Gowhar used to work. While they were on their way, the driver of SDPO Kangan, Gulzar Ahmad Ganie, along with seven other policemen walked towards them and started thrashing my younger brother Danish.”
“When Gowhar retaliated, Ganie shot two bullets towards him, one of which hit Gowhar’s head.”
Shabir alleged that after shooting Gowhar, the 15-year-old Danish was then taken to the police station, beaten up, and released at around 10 in the night.
“I have no clue of Danish’s health,” Shabir said.
Shabir said that after Gowhar was declared dead, the police delayed handing over the body to the family.
The SKIMS’ Medical Superintendent, Dr Farooq Jan, confirmed that Gowhar had “firearm injury”.
With Gowhar’s death, the civilian casualties following the triple encounters at Shopian have reached five.
The news of his death sparked protests at Kangan area, resulting in injuries to five policemen and four civilians, reportedly.
The government has ordered a magisterial enquiry into Gowhar’s death.