Army says stone-pelting mob surrounded them at mosque where they opened fire
DK Pora (Shopian): Villagers in DK Pora where four girls were injured in army firing on Monday said that two days before the army had come to the village and said that they would give an “Iftar party” in the village, an offer that was refused outright by the villagers.
“On Monday morning we went to the army’s 33 RR camp at Imam Sahib and told them to not come to our village, because it may lead to violence. But they told us not to worry. They said that even if villagers pelted them with stones, they would not open fire,” said Aijaz Ahmad Ganie, head of the village’s Aukaf Committee.
Another member of the village Auqaf committee said that when the soldiers arrived with a container of food on Monday evening, villagers again told them to leave the village. “But they didn’t listen to our pleas and one of them started shooting a video from the terrace of a newly-built house. This angered the people and they went to the mosque, where they used the loudspeaker to ask the soldiers to leave the village. Soon after the announcement, army soldiers opened indiscriminate firing in which four teenage girls were hit by bullets,” he said.
Among the injured girls were the two daughters of Abdul Hameed Bhat. Shafiya Jan, 18, has a bullet injury in her right leg and Shakira Jan, 16, has bullet injury in the lower part of her back.
“They (soldiers) shot both of my daughters at the main entrance of our house. Both of my daughters were accompanying their mother to the cowshed. As soon as I stepped into the courtyard of my house, after returning from work, I found both my daughters lying on the ground in pool of blood. Another village girl, Shobiya Jan, was lying outside on the road. She had come to meet my daughter as they are friends and study in the same class,” Abdul Hameed Bhat said.
Bhat’s family members said they were not aware of the army’s Iftar party. They said they saw the soldiers running through the streets, firing bullets.
A neighbour of Bhat, Manzoor Ahmad, said, “The world has now seen the ‘sympathy’ of the army towards the people of Kashmir. Those army men tried to kill all of us and didn’t even spare our daughters.”
Bhat said that doctors at SMHS Hospital in Srinagar told him that the injuries of his daughters will take time to heal.
Another injured girl is Shobiya Qayoom, 18, daughter of Abdul Qayoom Hajam. She has a bullet injury in her right arm. “I live on the other side of the village and my daughter was at the home of her friend when the army indiscriminately fired on the girls. I later took her to hospital from where she was shifted to Srinagar,” Abdul Qayoom said.
Aksa Jan, daughter of Muhammad Ayoub Magray, has a bullet injury on her back; the bullet has pierced through her ribs. “When we heard noise outside, she (Aksa) went out, but as soon she opened the main gate she was shot at by an army soldier,” said the mother of Aksa.
She said that the army tried to kill her daughter. “They almost killed her but it was Allah’s mercy that she is still alive. My daughter was observing the Ramazan fast and her only crime was that she opened the main entrance to see what was happening outside. She was not aware that there was army outside.”
Aksa was lying on a bed at her home when this reporter visited her. “I am not able to move,” she said, tears rolling down her face. “I have severe pain at the spot where the bullet hit my back.”
All the four injured girls have been discharged from hospital. Both of Bhat’s daughters were lying on the same bed at their home in DK Pora village.
Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian, Shailandra Kumar Mishra, told Kashmir Reader that police had lodged a case and an investigation was on. “We are trying to get in touch with witnesses to ascertain what happened there,” he said.
The army in their statement regarding the incident said, “Following the tradition and as part of goodwill gesture towards the Awaam during the holy month of Ramzan, the local Army Camp at Imam Sahib planned an Iftaar at DK Pura village on 21 May 18. Necessary coordination was done with the village Maulvi, Masjid Committee Members, Sarpanch and other eminent persons of the village. Some of them had also later visited the Army Camp in the afternoon to finalise arrangements. At around 1930 hours, as the Iftaar was under progress, some miscreants from the village barged into the masjid and started shouting anti-national and pro-Pakistan slogans including on the loudspeaker. Very soon a large crowd instigated by the miscreants primarily consisting of youth and a few women gathered outside the masjid and surrounded the Army troops present there for organising the Iftaar. The crowd resorted to heavy stone-pelting posing serious threat to the safety of the troops. The troops verbally cautioned the crowd, but when the stone-pelting further intensified, they took necessary preventive measures and moved out of the area.”