Army kills taxi driver over 'mistaken identity'

Srinagar, DHNS: A taxi driver was killed by the army during an ambush in north Kashmir's frontier Kupwara district during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

The family of the slain driver, Asif Iqbal, said he was shot "without warning" when he came out of the house to ferry some patients to a hospital. The police said that it was a case of mistaken identity.

"He was just a few yards away from his house when the army fired, leaving him in a pool of blood. He succumbed on the way to Srinagar, at Sopore," the family members of the deceased told reporters.

Police said that army's 21 Rashtriya Rifles had laid an ambush at Thandipora village of Kralpora in Kupwara after receiving an input about the movement of militants.

"According to the army version, soldiers had an input about the movement of militants in the area and when the slain driver was directed to stop, he did not abide and they (army) shot him," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara Shamsheer Hussain said.

While terming the killing a case of "mistaken identity", he said, "We appeal to the people to cooperate with us to know under what circumstances the army fired. We request them not to take law into their hands and cooperate with us."

The army had given no official statement on the incident till afternoon.

Reports said clashes erupted in the area in the morning over the killing of Iqbal.

Hundreds of people stopped the ambulance carrying the body of the deceased at Batpora, a village adjoining Thandipora, and staged massive protests.

The forces, reports said, responded by lobbing tear smoke shells. The clashes were going on when the reports last came in.

Meanwhile, in wake of the killing, authorities have blocked internet services in the frontier Kupwara district.

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