29 September 2023
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May 7 started out as just another day for 26-year-old Danish Khazir Bhat from North Kashmir’s Sopore town. He was supervising the construction of a two-storied shopping complex on Sopore bypass, barely a kilometre from his home.

Around 1.45 in the afternoon, Bhat’s family members say, he was approached by a group of Army soldiers from a local camp.

“They asked him to fix a closed-circuit television camera on an electric pole,” said Khazir Mohammad Bhat, Danish Bhat’s father, quoting several eyewitnesses to the exchange on that day.

His son, Bhat says, refused.

“My son was not an electrician,” said Bhat, a businessman. “Sometimes he would fix appliances at home but he was not trained nor did he have any expertise in doing an electric lineman’s work.”

In response, the eyewitnesses told Khazir Bhat, the soldiers took away his mobile phones and the keys to his car. “He was forced to climb an electric pole and install a camera by the Army,” Bhat said. “While he was climbing down the pole, his elbow touched a live electric wire and he was electrocuted.”

Bhat continued: “The soldiers didn’t attempt to bring him down. Some local residents kicked the ladder on which Danish was standing and his burning body fell down.”

The soldiers, Bhat alleged, fled….

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Abdul Gh Lone