Two killed as Army opens fire in Shopian


Srinagar: Two youth were killed on Saturday when army men fired on a group of protestors in Shopian district of south Kashmir, police officials said.

According to witnesses, protestors mostly young boys pelted stones on an army convoy passing through Ganovpora village in Shopian district on Saturday afternoon.

They said that army responded by opening fire on the protesters, resulting in serious injuries to many youths as a result. According to the sources at District Hospital Pulwama, four critically injured persons were brought to the facility for treatment.

“One of injured, identified as Javid Ahmad Bhat (20) of Balpora, was brought to the hospital with critical head injury. He succumbed at the facility,” said a source.

Another injured person, identified as Suhail Javid Lone, succumbed to injuries in the hospital later, they added.

The officials said another youth was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar in a critical condition for specialised treatment. The youth who was identified as Rayees Ahmad Wagay is being treated at a Srinagar hospital.

The situation in Ganovpora and adjoining areas is tense following the killing of the youths, witnesses said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the killing of two civilians in Shopian district of south Kashmir, army said that they had to open fire in self-defence to “prevent the lynching of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) by a mob”.

An army spokesman, in a statement, said that an army administrative convoy was passing through Ganaupura chowk in Shopian when it came under “unprovoked and intense stone pelting by a group of 100-120 stone pelters” at around 3 pm.

“Within no time, their numbers swelled to 200-250 persons. The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles. They caused extensive damage to these vehicles and tried to set them on fire,” said the statement.

It said a junior commissioned officer accompanying the convoy got hit on the head and fell unconscious suffering serious injury.

“The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire.”

“Considering the extreme gravity of the situation the army was constrained to open fire in self defence to prevent lynching of the JCO and burning of Government vehicle by the mob.”

The statement said that seven army men suffered injuries and extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles. “In the process two civilians succumbed to the bullet injuries,” it added.

Meanwhile, SSP Shopian Shriram Ambarkar said they have registered an FIR against the army.

Following the incident, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said that Deputy Commissioner Shopian has been asked to carry the inquiry. “The officer has been asked to complete the inquiry within 20 days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a Kashmir-wide shutdown tomorrow against the killings of the civilians in army firing.

JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik appealed people to observe a complete shutdown tomorrow against the killings of two civilians in army firing today in Ganowpora village.

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