KARACHI: A young girl from the village of Baitali, who had just turned 18, had just celebrated her birthday when the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was on her mobile phone in the village, a few hundred meters from her home.
On Monday, the boy’s mother and her husband were shot dead in the middle of their village, and the killing of the father, the elder man of the family, has reignited a feud that is now threatening to spiral into a full-scale war between the two nations.
“The incident is a serious crime and the authorities must do everything to prevent any other deaths and the death of innocent people,” said Riaz Shah, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which has registered more than 70,000 cases of war crimes in Russia since 2010.
“But the Russian authorities, the Russian state, cannot afford to wait for any trial, to bring to justice the killers of the Baitalis and to prevent this tragic event from happening again.”
The incident occurred on July 15, when the couple was returning home from work when a stray bullet struck the girl’s head and killed her husband, according to a police statement released by the Investigative Committee, a top Russia-based investigative body.
According to Shah, the family of the boy was celebrating his birthday with friends and had not been aware of the incident.
But, the father was taken to hospital in critical condition after suffering a severe head wound, and later died.
“There is no reason to fear the Russian government, and there is no cause for anger,” said Shah.
“I hope the incident will not lead to a war between Russia and Iran.
But the tragedy of the assassination of the parents and the elder of the village can never be forgotten.”
The two countries, both nuclear-armed, are embroiled in a bitter feud over the countrys disputed disputed regions in the South Caucasus.
The feud began in 2009 when Russia’s state-run media, RT, published a video in which then President Vladimir Putin said the boy had killed his father and that his elder brother had killed their father, a charge Moscow denies.
Putin has since been accused of using the video to deflect criticism from the incident, accusing RT of inciting hatred of the Iranian people.
“We are convinced that there is a deep-rooted hatred of Iran and its people on both sides of the border,” said a senior official at the Russian Foreign Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It is difficult to imagine how this could happen if this video had not come out and made such a big splash in the world media.”
The death of the couple and the wounding of their father prompted anger from members of the local community.
“When the father dies, there will be no one left to take care of the kids, the elderly, the poor people and the poor villagers,” said Ali, the Bitcha village resident.
“They will be left to die.”
A man and his two sons were also killed in a shooting attack by armed men in the same village, Shah said.