ANF guns down civilian in Sringeri

Case of mistaken identity: Officer

ANF guns down civilian in Sringeri

In a case of mistaken identity, the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) shot dead a 23-year-old civilian at Thanikodu forest checkpost in Sringeri, Chikmagalur district, in the early hours of Saturday.

The deceased, Kabeer, was a resident of Krishnapura in Surathkal near Mangalore.
The tragic incident occurred when five persons, transporting cattle in a mini-truck from Theerthahalli to Mangalore, stopped at the checkpost around 3:30 am. While Rafeeq alighted from the truck to collect toll receipt, his cousin Kabeer reportedly started running on sighting ANF personnel. The latter opened fire suspecting him to be a “Maoist”, killing him on the spot.

Panicking at the sudden turn of events, truck driver Pramod and Rafeeq fled the scene and arrived in Mangalore in another truck, while the ANF personnel nabbed Sheikh Ummer Farooq, who was still in the mini-truck. The fifth passenger, Sarfaraj, has gone missing.

Speaking to the media in Mangalore, Rafeeq said five of them were transporting 20 cattle from Thirthahalli to Mangalore abattoir after purchasing the cattle from a broker. When he alighted at the checkpost, “...the ANF personnel asked all the persons in the mini-truck to step out and seconds later I heard five rounds of firing and screams of Kabeer”. He and the driver  immediately fled, he recalled.

Stating that the vehicle documents were in order, he said his cousin and he were daily wage labourers, who had got into cattle business three months ago and were not into illegal trade.

Chikmagalur SP R Chethan said the ANF opened fire at the  civilians when they started running from the mini-truck.

“The ANF  presumed they may be Maoists,” he said and added that one person has been killed and a case has been registered.

The Mangalore Police Commissioner, who is  in-charge IGP (Western Range), said there was no trace of the missing person so far.

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