A government probe report handed over to the election commission contradicts the army’s version of the events that led to soldiers opening fire on a car in Kashmir’s Budgam area on November 3, killing two civilians.
The report prepared by the district magistrate and superintendent of police says the vehicle was stopped by the army unit, but it skidded off the road and hit a pole.
“In the meantime, one of the detachments of the naka party fired upon the vehicle, resulting in the death of two persons and injury to two others,” the probe found, while the army said the vehicle with five occupants was intercepted at three checkpoints before being fired upon.
Clashes broke out on Thursday between protesters and police over the incident as the situation continued to remain tense in parts of Srinagar city.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Budgam’s superintendent of police Irshad Ahmad refused to reveal the details of the report. “It’s a report in a few lines submitted after the incident took place. I can’t reveal the contents,” he said.
According to local news agency GNS, two teenagers who were in the car and were wounded in the firing corroborated the report.
“We were not warned or asked to surrender by the army unit posted in the area,” the agency quoted one of the boys, Zahid Ayoub, who’s receiving care at Srinagar’s army hospital.
The news agency said Zahid was the only one among the five boys who noticed the army men ordering them to stop. “I told Faisal (one of the deceased) that they are directing us to stop, but he didn’t understand as we were cracking jokes,” the class 9 student said.
The teenagers told GNS that as the car began to slow down, some soldiers started firing. “They asked us to surrender our weapons after firing at us. We told them we were students and after searching the car they shifted us to the hospital,” the agency quoted one of them.
The army, however, said it had “specific intelligence inputs saying militants were travelling in a white Maruti”.
Its spokesperson said the teenagers ignored the orders to stop at three consecutive checkpoints established along the route to nab the militants. “The car in which these youths were travelling did not stop at two checkpoints when they were flagged down. They even broke through the third barrier leading to the security forces opening fire on them.”
Jammu and Kashmir police have lodged an FIR in the case. “We are investigating the matter. Things would get clearer only after the probe is complete,” said AG Mir, inspector general of police in Kashmir.