Two civilians were killed and six others injured after Indian Army opened fire on protesters in Ganowpora hamlet of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Saturday. Reports said that army personnel arrived at Ganowpora village to remove a banner. As the army tried to remove the banner, a group of youth pelted stones on them.The army according to eyewitnesses retaliated with firing. Witnesses added that army fired upon youth directly resulting in the injuries of at least 11 persons.Among the injured three youth succumbed to the injuries in the hospital.Sources at District Hospital Pulwama said that four injured were brought to the facility for treatment. “One of injured, identified as Javid Ahmad Bhat (20) of Balpora, was brought to the hospital with critical head injury. He succumbed at the facility,” said a source.Medical Superintendent District Hospital Pulwama Dr Rashid Parra confirmed the death of Bhat.
They said that another youth, identified as Suhail Ahmed (19) of Ganowpora, was shifted to PHC Rajpora where he was declared dead on arrival.The killings sparked massive stone-pelting near police station Pulwama. Police used tear-smoke shells to disperse the agitated youth. As per eyewitnesses, a banner led to the killing of these three budding Kashmiri youth. Locals at Ganowpora Shopian had hoisted a long banner with Quranic verses and pro-freedom slogans yesterday-when people observed a complete shutdown on the eve of India’s 69th Republic Day. Eyewitnesses said that everything was normal in the village, however, the emergence of army vehicles created panic there. The soldiers shortly after alighting from the vehicles, tried to remove that banner that was hung in air between the middle of the road. As soldiers were removing the banner, some agitated youth pelted stones on them. However, the soldiers retaliated with direct firing on the youth, leaving at least 11 of them injured. “It was heart wrenching to see women wailing and beating their chest. The injured youth were lying on the road for quite some time as people were still running for cover,” said an eyewitness. As the people gathered in large number, army soldiers left the area while people shifted the injured to District Hospital Shopian and Pulwama.
Shortly after the killing of these youth, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan ordered the magisterial probe. He said that District Development Commissioner Shopian has been directed to complete the probe within two weeks time. A police official said that a case against Army has been registered.Meanwhile, Joint Resistance Leadership has called for valley wide shutdown against these killings on Sunday.Opposition leader Omar Abdullah asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to condemn the civilian killings in Shopian as well when she has been condemning the suicide bombing attack in Kabul. The violence in Kabul is tragic. It’s even more unfortunate when you can find words here & have none for the civilians killed in Shopian today @MehboobaMufti. You need to sort out the people managing your account,” Omar Abdullah Tweeted. (CNS)