2 civilians killed in Army firing, CM orders probe

Srinagar, Jan 27: Two civilians were today killed when Army personnel fired on a group of violent protestors in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to order an inquiry into the incident.
The mob pelted stones on a security force convoy passing through Ganovpora village in Shopian district following which the Army personnel fired a few rounds to chase it away, police officials said, adding several protestors were injured in the firing.
Two of the injured persons, identified as Javaid Ahmad Bhat and Suhail Javid Lone, succumbed to injuries, they said.
Another youth was rushed to a hospital here in a critical condition for specialised treatment, the officials said. The situation in Ganovpora and adjoining areas is tense following the killing of the youths, they said.
A state government spokesman said the chief minister expressed deep anguish and sorrow over the death of the two civilians and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, a defence spokesman said Army troops opened fire when a mob tried to lynch a junior commissioned officer and snatch his service weapon.
“An Army administration convoy was passing through Ganovpora when it came under unprovoked and intense stone- pelting by a group of 100-120 stone-pelters. Within no time, their number swelled to 200-250 persons.
“The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles,” the spokesman said, noting that the stone-pelters 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. He was seriously injured. The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon.”
He said, “The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire.”
The spokesman said 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.
“A total of seven Army men suffered injuries while extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles. In the process, two civilians succumbed to the bullet injuries,” he said.
The police have registered a case against the Army unit concerned in connection with the incident.
The state government spokesperson said the chief minister has directed the district administration to conduct a probe into the incident and come up with findings at the earliest.
He said Mehbooba has conveyed her sympathies to the families of the dead and the injured.
Meanwhile, the mainstream and separatists condemned the killings with the latter giving a call for a shutdown tomorrow in the Valley to register their protest.
Former chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Twitter, “Violence in Kabul is tragic. It s even more unfortunate when you can find words here and have none for the civilians killed in Shopian today @MehboobaMufti.
“You need to sort out the people managing your account,” he wrote.
The J-K Congress also condemned the killings, saying the firing on the youths was very unfortunate. “The loss of precious lives cannot by replaced by anything,” a party spokesman said.