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Noorbagh civilian killing: Family cries ‘cold-blooded murder’; police blames militants

Srinagar: In the wee hours of Thursday, a youth from Noorbagh area here allegedly fell to the bullets of the government forces when he was out to see his sheep.
Mohammad Saleem Malik, in his late 20s, a native of Magray Mohalla, was killed when, according to his family, the government forces laid siege at Noorbagh on a tip off about the presence of militants in the locality.
His brother, Mehraj-ud-din Malik, said: “At around 4:15am, we came heard some gunshots. My brother was out to see his sheep. We were not able to move out to see what happened.”
“Then our sister noticed Saleem. At first, we felt that he was sleeping, but when we moved closer, we found him dead.”
Mehraj-ud-din said “a volley of bullets was pumped” into his brother, whose body carried numerous bullet marks in chest and arms.
“Had there been any militant, he would have fired on the security forces,” he said.
Saleem’s father, Mohammad Yaqoob Malik, a labourer, said his son used to rear sheep, especially for sacrificial purpose.
It was his means of livelihood, he said.
In the past, he said, many of his sheep were stolen from the shed, prompting Saleem to, on suspecting a thief this time, step out of his house in the darkness.
Terming the killing of his son a “cold-blooded murder”, Mohammad demanded “stern action” against the culprits.
“Those involved in his killing should be taken to task. His killing has shattered our dreams. He was a hard worker. It was he who used to fulfill the major financial needs of the family,” he said.
“My younger son is doing a menial job. My two daughters are jobless despite possessing degrees.”
Saleem was laid to rest in Mazar-e-Shudha at Eidgah, amidst chest-beating and wailing by the women.
Soon after his funeral, clashes erupted at Eidgah, Noorbagh, and their adjoining areas.
The areas were later placed under restrictions, with police resorting to tear-gas shelling and baton charge to disperse the protesters.
Many were reportedly injured in the clashes, including those shouldering the Saleem’s coffin.
Police, however, claimed that Saleem was killed after militants fired on the government forces.
“Security Forces acting on a credible input cordoned cluster of houses in Noorbagh area, where the hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately, resulting in the death of an individual identified as Saleem Malik son of Mohammad Yaqoob Malik. Police has initiated investigation,” police said.