Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that the civilians killed in Shopian were ‘caught in cross fire’ even as she expressed heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
“Deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian. My heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s families,” Mehbooba tweeted. However, she did not mention any number of civilians killed in the incident.
According to locals, four civilians have been killed in firing by the army. The army, on the other hand, claimed all the four civilians were accompanying the militants and were their OGWs.
The opposition National Conference (NC) also expressed shock over the civilian killings, saying that Shopian killings cannot be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs
“We are deeply shocked and grieved at the continued and unabated bloodshed in Kashmir. The Shopian killings cannot be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs. The circumstances and details should be probed and made public by the State government,” the opposition party tweeted.
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) expressed anguish over the killings and demanded probe into Shopian Killings saying that people were not satisfied with the Army version. The party described the killing of innocents as ‘highly painful’.
In a statement issued here, a party spokesperson while strongly condemning the Shopian killings said that Army needs to clear the doubts as that, the people of Shopian believe that those killed apart from militants were innocent and they were killed under the garb of an encounter.
While the killing of innocent people cannot be justified by anything, the spokesperson said that there has to be a probe into this unfortunate incident to ascertain the truth behind the loss of lives.
Expressing deep sorrow over the loss of lives, the spokesperson sought clarity from both the State and Centre over the Shopian killings and urged that doubts in the minds of people need to be cleared with regard to these killings
Adding that the government is responsible for the bloodshed, the spokesperson said that the killing spree in South Kashmir is a fallout of the misrule and mis-governance on the part of PDP-BJP combine.
The spokesman said that both the parties cannot escape the responsibility of loss of lives.
“Congress Party believes that a fair probe into the killings will clear the doubts in the hearts and minds of people,” the spokesman said emphasizing the need for a probe to ascertain the truth behind this unfortunate incident.
Chairman of Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) and MLA Khansahib, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen strongly condemned the killing of six persons in security forces firing in Puhnoo Shopian and demanded a high level judicial inquiry into this ‘unfortunate’ incident.
“SOPs as per Unified Command guidelines are not being followed at ground level which results in the killing of innocent people with impunity,” he said.
He said that killing spree let loose in various areas of the Valley has created an atmosphere of terror as everybody feels insecure. “Due to fear psychosis the intending tourists are also reluctant to come to Valley,” he said.
He said if killing spree in Kashmir was not stopped forthwith, the upcoming tourism season will get adversely affected, thereby retarding economic condition of the common people.
Meanwhile, Awami Itehaad Party (AIP) president and MLA Langate, Engineer Abdul Rasheed Sheikh carried out a protest march against the Shopian killings.
Led by Er Rasheed, the protest march was started in Handwara during which protesters were holding black flags and were chanting anti-Army slogans and condemned national media for provoking and sheltering the ‘killers in uniform’.
However, a police contingent stopped the march from proceeding towards main Chowk Handwara and detained Er Rasheed.
Er Rasheed prior to his arrest said, “The political dispensation in New Delhi has given Army and other security agencies the liberty to kill Kashmiris. It is disgracing that on an occasion when Army repeated its dirty designs in Shopian by killing six innocent Kashmiris, Supreme Court stayed the proceedings against the FIR lodged to look into previous killings. There can be nothing shameful than the fact that state Govt. softened its stand in the supreme court today over the FIR issue.”
Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) president and former minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir condemned the Shopian killings and demanded high-level probe into the killings.
Mir said that the government claims over avoiding civilian killings is contrary on the ground as such killings are still going unabated in the Valley.
He said that the alienation between the government and the people is an outcome of such killings.