Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Thousands protest in Kashmir after Indian army kills civilians

Security personnel patrol a street during restrictions in Srinagar Security personnel patrol a street during restrictions in Srinagar
Melinda Barton | 06 March, 2018, 20:17

The passings on Sunday evening happened after an activist going in an auto assaulted an Indian Army's versatile vehicle checkpost close Pahnoo town in Shopian locale, exactly 60 km south of Srinagar.Four people were affirmed dead on Sunday night and two more bodies were recouped on Monday morning, police said.

First they said the militants had come to attack their party and now they have changed their statement saying army signalled the vehicle to stop, but the driver refused.

Also, the three over ground workers/accomplices in the vehicle who were accompanying the terrorist were found to be dead. "In retaliatory operation, one militant identified as Shahid Ahmad Dar was killed", Army Spokesperson said. Investigation suggesta that Bhat was the part of terror squad which had attacked the Army vehicle at Pahnoo village in Shopian, police said. In major parts of the Srinagar city as well as major towns and villages of the Valley, restriction have been imposed.

He said body of a civilian Gowhar Ahmed Lone of ChitragamShopian was also found near the incident site at PahnooShopian.

Education institutes, too, remained closed in the Valley, and the Kashmir Administrative Services exams were postponed. An Army spokesperson claimed the youths were overground militant workers, but local residents claimed they were civilians travelling in the auto, according to media reports.

Local residents contested the army version saying that the three killed were civilians. The January incident sparked outrage amongst the locals and the Jammu and Kashmir Police filed an FIR against the Indian Army, resulting in a political row.

Notwithstanding the claim made by the Army of eliminating OGWs, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said they were civilians caught in the "crossfire".

Internet and rail services have been suspended in south Kashmir.

DGP S.P. Vaid in Jammu told reporters the Army said the three men were overground workers. "Militants travelling in a vehicle fired upon army personnel who retaliated by firing several shots, leading to a brief exchange of fire". The powerful Hurriyat trio of Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have called for a shutdown today against the killings. Schools had been scheduled to re-open on Monday after a three-month winter break.

People thronged Kapran village of Shopian to participate in the funeral of Lashkar commander Ashiq Hussain Bhat.

As the news about the civilian killings spread, protests erupted in various areas of Kashmir on Monday with people alleging that the army killed civilians "intentionally".