Authorities have ordered a probe into the killing of two youth in Army firing in Shopian district of Kashmir on Saturday.
Javed Ahmad Bhat, 20, of Balpora and Suhail Javed Lone, 24 of Rawalpora were killed after an Army convoy that was allegedly pelted with stones opened fire in Ganowpora village, injuring nearly a dozen people, media reports said. Another youth Rayeez Ahmad is said to be critical.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan has asked Deputy Commissioner Shopian to probe the incident, according to the reports.
“The officer has been asked to complete the inquiry within 20 days,” Khan was quoted as saying by a local news agency GNS .
The Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik has called for a shutdown in Kashmir on Sunday against the killings. The situation in Ganowpora and adjoining areas was tense when reports last came in.
Meanwhile, the army said that its troopers had fired in self-defence to “prevent the lynching of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) by a mob”.
An army spokesman said that an army administrative convoy was passing through Ganaupura chowk in Shopian when it came under “unprovoked and intense stone pelting by a group of 100-120 stone pelters” at around 3 pm.
“Within no time, their numbers swelled to 200-250 persons. 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,” said the statement.
It said 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.”
“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.”
The statement said that 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.
(Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned that three youth had been killed in Army firing as told by the Chief Medical Officer Shopian Dr Bashir to a local news agency. However, he later issued a clarification, saying the third youth was critical)