Hours before Zubin Mehtas concert began in Srinagar,the CRPF gunned down four alleged militants in south Kashmirs Shopian,provoking protests. Residents claimed all four were civilians. Police later said that while two of those killed were civilians,two were anti-nationals.
As protesters marched to the District Police Lines demanding bodies of those killed,they were lathicharged and teargassed,leaving three injured. Five youth on two motorcycles were stopped and asked to reveal their identities. Instead,they opened fire on CRPF men,who retaliated, CRPF spokesperson Kishore Prasad said. In the counter-firing,three were killed while Touseef Ahmad Bhat,18,and Adil Bachkoo were injured. Touseef died on way to hospital.
Prasad claimed that one Chinese pistol and two grenades were recovered from the youth,which was backed by police. No CRPF officer sustained injuries.
Another who died was identified by police as Mohammad Yousuf,which said he was among the two civilians killed. In its statement,it said: A CRPF checking party was fired upon by anti-national elements in Gagran,Shopian… The identity of the anti-national elements is being ascertained. Shopian Deputy Commissioner Bashir Ahmad Bhat said identifying the youths would take time.
Bachkoo said he and Touseef were on their way to Shopian Degree College when the CRPF men guarding the forces 14 Battalion headquarters at Gagran village stopped them. The CRPF men asked for our licence. As I was taking it out,they fired on us, he said.
Talking about Bhat and Bachkoo,a resident,Gulzar Ahmad,said: We have seen only two youths,one dead and the other injured. And both are not militants. Police are not revealing anything about the others.
The Hurriyat Conference has called a strike on Sunday.
In another incident,nine people,including six policemen,were injured when a grenade was lobbed at a police patrol in Pulwama.