Mehbooba orders probe into death of students in firing

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A “murder” and “attempt to murder” case has been registered against the Army unit involved in the firing on protesters in Shopian on Saturday that left two civilians dead. The Kashmir valley remained tense over the incident on Sunday.

The FIR lodged by the police in the firing incident mentioned the Army’s 10 Garhwal unit and a Major from the unit, identified as Aditya. A case under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 336 (endangering life) has been registered.

Two civilians, both young students, were killed when the Army opened fire on “stone-throwing” protesters in Shopian’s Ganowpora village on Saturday afternoon. The Army said it fired in self-defence when the protesters resorted to “intense stone pelting, attempted to lynch an injured Junior Commissioner Officer (JCO) and set Army vehicles on fire”.

Leaders react

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Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who ordered a magisterial inquiry and sought a report within 20 days, spoke to Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday evening. According to the J&K government spokesman, Ms Sitharaman assured the Chief Minister “that a detailed report will be prepared of the incident.”

The Union Defence Minister also assured Ms. Mufti that “field formations will be asked to set up mechanisms so that such incidents do not recur in the future”.

Terming the Army action as “justified”, BJP MLA Ravinder Raina dismissed the possibility of a magisterial enquiry. “The Army enjoys impunity under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. It has its own court. The police FIRs don’t work [against Army]” he said.

Kashmir tense

Meanwhile, Kashmir remained tense with the authorities imposing restrictions in parts of the Valley and the separatists’ organising a shutdown call against the killings.

District Magistrate, Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah has ordered restrictions under Section 144 “in territorial jurisdictions of Srinagar’s Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and M.R. Gunj police stations”.

“The restrictions have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident,” he said.

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