The Kashmir Police on Monday said it has no record that will establish the three local youths shot dead by the CRPF on Saturday in south Kashmir’s Shopian town had links with any militant organisation in the past.
The police statement, though it falls short of declaring the deceased youths as civilians, lends credence to the claims by the local residents who said the youths were not militants and the CRPF killed them in cold blood.
The local youths have been identified as Tawseef Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Yousf Sofi, both residents of Shopian, and Tariq Ahmad Mir, a resident of neighbouring Kulgam town.
“The three identified youth do not have any previous record of militancy with the police,” said the statement of the Srinagar-based zonal headquarters of the police.
The body of the fourth youth, whom the police suspect was a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, was buried on Sunday evening by the local Auqaf members.
“The evidence collected from the spot and subsequent verifications suggest that he is Abdullah Haroon of the Lashkar-e-Toiba,” the police statement said.
All the four were shot dead by the CRPF troopers on Saturday a few hours ahead of Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar, 42km away, triggering massive protests in the town and neighbouring Pulwama district.
The CRPF maintains the killed youth were shot dead when they tried to attack the local paramilitary camp. It claimed firearms and explosives were recovered from them deceased youth.
“Besides, the mobile phone recovered from his pocket contains a video clip showing weapons snatched from police and CRPF personnel in Arwani and Awnera areas,” the police said.
“The mobile phone has Dialer and Skype software used by Lashkar commanders,” the statement said.
Sporadic clashes between the police and protesters wee witnessed in Kulgam town, while Shopian remained under curfew for the third consecutive day on Monday. Around 4 pm, protesters in Shopian defied curfew and threw rocks at security personnel, who fired tear-smoke shells and later fired in air to control the situation.
Kulgam town, native place of one of the four slain youth, also witnessed violent clashes between protesters and security forces. Adjacent district of Pulwama observed a shutdown. Srinagar and districts of north Kashmir resumed normal life after two days of shutdown on Monday.