South Kashmir's Shopian town reeled under curfew for the third consecutive day on Monday as sporadic clashes paralysed life in Kulgam town in the wake of killing of four youths in alleged CRPF firing on Saturday. Police have started an inquiry into the incident after a massive public outcry.
"Three identified youths do not have any previous record of militancy with the police," said a statement of the Srinagar-based zonal headquarters of the police. The fresh disclosure has questioned the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) claim that all four killed youths were militants.
The fourth person with non-local appearance has neither been claimed nor identified by any local. The body was buried on Sunday evening in Shopian district only with the help of a local Muslim, Auqaf. "The evidence collected from the spot and subsequent verifications suggest that he (the unidentified person) is Abdullah Haroon of the Lashkar-e-Taiba," the police have said.
The police claimed that a pistol, two grenades and a diary were recovered from the spot. "A mobile phone recovered from his pocket contains a video clip, showing weapons snatched from police and CRPF personnel in the incidents of Arwani and Awnera Shopian," they said. The mobile phone has softwares such as Dialer and Skype. "Both are available with Lashkar commanders," the police have said.
The police identified the slain youth as Tawseef Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Yousf Sofi, both residents of Shopian, and Tariq Ahmad Mir, a resident of Kulgam. The killings, which took place on the day when music maestro Zubin Mehta was performing in Srinagar, had both Shopian and Kulgam on the edge for the third day. Around 4 pm, several protesters in Shopian town localities defied curfew and started hurling stones at security forces.
In retaliation, security personnel lobbed tear-smoke shells and resorted to aerial firing to bring the situation under control. The clashes were on till late evening.
Kulgam town, a native place of one of the four slain youths, 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.
Lawyers protest Shopian killings
Demanding action against the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel allegedly responsible for the killing four people in Shopian, the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) members on Monday organised a protest rally.
The rally was led by the HCBA president Mian Abdul Qayoom from the lower court complex to Lal Chowk.
The lawyers, who were carrying banners and placards, demanded stern punishment for the killers. "We demand that CRPF personnel must be booked and murder cases registered against them," Qayoom said.
He said the statement made by union minister Farooq Abdullah not conducting an inquiry into the Shopian incident pointed out "to the free hands given to the forces to kill innocent people".