Srinagar: Two people were killed and several others sustained injuries after the Army opened fire on protesters in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Saturday. The district administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and set a deadline of 20 days for the probe report.
Shopian SSP Sri Ram Ambarkar said that an army convoy was pelted with stones at Ganapora area in the district on Saturday afternoon. In retaliation, the soldiers opened fire, resulting in injuries to a few youths, he said.
The chief medical officer of Shopian, Dr Bashir, said they received at least eight injured persons in the hospital. Two of the seriously wounded have succumbed to their injuries, he said.
The deceased have been identified as Javid Bhat and Sohul Bhat. The CMO said that one among those injured, Rayees Wagay, has been transferred to SKIMS Soura in a critical condition.
The Army said that it was forced to open fire in self defence. In a statement, the Army said an administrative convoy was passing through Ganaupura chowk in Shopian around 3pm on Saturday when it came “under unprovoked and intense stone pelting” by a group of over 100 people. Within no time, their numbers swelled to 200-250 persons, it said.
“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. 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,” the statement read.
The Army said that considering the extreme gravity of the situation, it personnel had to open fire in “self defence to prevent lynching of the JCO and burning of government vehicle by the mob”. A total of 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, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said that the deputy commissioner of Shopian has been asked to probe into the incident. “The officer has been asked to complete the inquiry within 20 days,” he added.
The area had been tense for the last two days after a local boy was killed and four girls got injured in the crossfire in Chaigund area in Shopian district. A number of minor clashes between the protesters and the security forces were reported in the last two days.