Protest erupts in J&K after 2 civilians killed in firing

Protests erupted in Kashmir after the Army allegedly shot dead two civilians in Bandipore district.

Written by Basharaat Masood | Srinagar | Published: July 1, 2013 5:32:37 am

Protests erupted in Kashmir after the Army allegedly shot dead two civilians in Bandipore district on Sunday morning. The police have registered a murder case against 13 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) of the Army. Though the Army said it will probe the killings,the J&K government said there is “nothing to investigate”.

“We have not ordered a probe. An inquiry is ordered when you don’t know the cause of death or have any doubts. It is evident that the Army killed them. The police will now identify the soldiers involved,” said Bandipore Deputy Commissioner M Y Zargar.

The Army allegedly killed a class XII student,Irfan Ahmad Ganai,when he came out of his home at Markundal village fearing that thieves have entered their cowshed. As protests erupted,the Army again opened fire,“killing” 25-year-old Tariq Ahmad Laherwal.

“At around 11 pm Saturday,the Army came to our village in private vehicles. There was a rumour that thieves have entered the village. There have been several instances of cow theft in the village. As the villagers moved out,the Army men left,” said Sameer Ahmad,resident of Markundal.

He said at around 3 am they came back. “They parked a vehicle outside Irfan’s house. There was again a rumour of thieves in the village. As Irfan rushed out of his home,the soldiers hit him with the butt of a gun. As he fell down,they shot him in the head and then in his arm,” said Ahmad.

He said the soldiers also tried to take away Irfan’s body. “The women jumped over his body and prevented the soldiers from taking it,” he said.

There were protests in the village and soon the Army cordoned off the area. “They continuously opened fire. In the morning,they again opened fire on the protesters killing another youth,” Ahmad said. They also took away the body of Laherwal.

The Army has said it will investigate the incident. “If any wrongdoing is found out,appropriate action will be taken,” said GoC Victor Force,Major General R R Nimbhorkar.

Later,the Army gave a new twist to the incident. “A joint operation was launched by the Army and J&K Police late last night based on the specific intelligence about terrorists in the Markandal. A burst of fire was heard. Hearing about a youth being injured in the fire,an ambulance with a doctor was brought. But the effort was interrupted by the mob. Later it was learnt that the youth had succumbed to his injuries,” a Defence spokesperson said. “When the Army ambulance was being driven out,it was attacked by a violent mob. The troops fired in self defence,resulting in injury to another youth who later succumbed,” the spokesperson said.

Higher Education Minister Mohammad Akbar Lone said,“This is an unpardonable act by the Army.”

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