Amidst the cross-firing, some questions about the viral photos

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 7/2/2020 1:32:29 AM

Who clicked photos of Kashmiri child sitting on bullet-riddled body?

SRINAGAR, July 1: Soon after militants attacked security forces in North Kashmir’s Sopore town, photos emerged on social media showing a three-year-old child sitting on top of the body of his grandfather.
While the images of the child evoked condemnation, questions are also being raised about who captured the photos at the gunfight site and shared them on social media, even when there were no photo-journalists present.
A CRPF head constable and a civilian, Bahsir Ahmad Khan, were killed Wednesday morning when the militants opened fire at a naka party in Sopore.
Soon after the attack, photos of the deceased’s grandson, sitting on top of his grandfather’s bullet-riddled body, were widely shared on social media. Later, the Jammu and Kashmir police posted a photo on Twitter showing a policeman carrying the child from the scene. Outlook magazine reported that the J&K Police said, on its twitter handle, that the child was “rescued from getting hit by bullets during a terrorist attack”.
A video also surfaced that showed the three-year-old child inside a police vehicle, crying, while the cops try to console him.
Officials from both the CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir Police said they do not know who took the pictures of the civilian’s grandson, the report mentioned.
“Yes, pictures have been taken. But who took the pictures is a matter of the investigation,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sopore, Javaid Iqbal said, according to Outlook.
A CRPF spokesperson said that at the time of the attack, there were no photojournalists present at the spot who could have possibly taken the photo of the child.
“It was not an operational encounter and there was no photojournalist present at the place,” said the CRPF spokesperson Junaid Khan.
“I do not know who took the pictures and circulated them. I have no information about who took the pictures,” he added.
Commenting on the photo of the child, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “Everything becomes a propaganda tool in the bloody violence in Kashmir. A three-year-old toddler has to have his misery broadcast to the whole world to drive home the ‘we good they bad’ message. We would have got the point without his misery being filmed & shared so please don’t.”
“We would have expected no less from the men in uniform than to rescue the young boy & for that they have our gratitude but we would expect better than for them to film & use a three-year old’s pain the way it’s being done today,” he added.
Senior journalist and commentator, Gowhar Geelani tweeted, raised more questions, “The old man was driving a car. Lying on the road in a pool of blood? Any bullet marks on the car if there was a ‘cross-fire’? Who got him out of the car? Who placed the kid on the corpse? Who filmed?”
In a video statement that was also shared on social media, Suhail Ahmad, son of the slain civilian, alleged that his father was killed by the security forces.
Suhail said the CRPF personnel “dragged him from his car and shot him dead”.
Khan, who was a contractor, had taken his grandson from Srinagar to Sopore to oversee the progress of a construction work.
Back in Srinagar’s HMT area, Khan’s family and neighbours are in shock and mourning. “My father has been killed. Didn’t they see a little kid along with my father?” asks Khan’s daughter.
The allegations were refuted by SSP Sopore who said the family was not present at the encounter site.
“The civilian was killed during the encounter with militants,” he said. The SSP said the civilian was “most probably” hit by a militant bullet.
The CRPF spokesperson narrated the incident as: “Today at around 07:30 Hrs, Golf Coy of 179 Bn CRPF reached Model Town Chowk Sopore for Naka, patrolling duties. As the troops were de-bussing from the vehicles to occupy their respective spots of deployment, militants hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque started firing indiscriminately on the troops, resulting in injuries to the four CRPF personnel. Later one of the injured HC Deep Chand succumbed to his injuries. One civilian died on spot in the attack.”



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