Killing of man in Kashmir spurs protest



-- A protest erupted Saturday in a village in northern Indian-administered Kashmir after the killing of a man by the Indian army late Friday or early Saturday.

The Indian army said the man was shot after he walked into an ambush it laid after getting specific information about movement of militants in the area. But the family of the victim alleged he had been taken out of his home by the soldiers and his body was found early Saturday.

Mohammad Shafi Rather, district magistrate in the Kupwara district, where the death occurred, told CNN that an investigation has been ordered into the killing of the man, identified as Manzoor Ahmad Magray, 24.

A case has also been registered against the army unit, he said. "The enquiry would be conducted by the additional district magistrate Kupwara and the probe report would be submitted within a month," Rather said.

As the news of the killing spread in the village of Chogul, hundreds of residents assembled there and staged a protest.

Shouting pro-freedom slogans, the villagers carried the man's body to a highway and laid it there, blocking traffic.

After the district magistrate provided assurances of an investigation, the villagers took the body to a graveyard for burial.

The Indian army issued a statement Saturday morning regretting the man's death, but maintaining that "the troops had adhered to standard operating procedure (SOP) in the incident."

The army's statement said Magray had walked into the ambush along with another individual. After being challenged to surrender, the two started running away, at which point the troops opened fire.

"We deeply and sincerely express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on this incident," said Lt. Col. J.S. Brar, a Srinagar-based defense spokesman.

A long summer of pro-independence unrest was sparked in Indian administered Kashmir last year by the killing of an 18-year-old boy in police action in the capital, Srinagar.