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Kashmir firing: Army orders probe as CM Mehbooba demands strict action

india Updated: Apr 13, 2016 13:02 IST
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Kashmiri villagers surround the bodies of two civilians reported to have been killed in clashes with security personnel in Handwara, Kashmir. (AFP Photo)

The army ordered an inquiry into the killing of two youths during an alleged firing by soldiers in Handwara, as J-K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said such incidents have a “negative impact” on the state government’s efforts to consolidate peace efforts.

The decision of holding an inquiry was conveyed by Lt Gen DS Hooda, heading the strategic Udhampur-based Northern Command, to the chief minister who had called him to ascertain the situation on the ground.

Expressing grief over the incident, Mehbooba, who is here on her maiden visit after taking over the reins of the state, called Lt Gen Hooda who informed her that the army has already ordered an inquiry into the incident and that tangible action will be taken once the probe is complete, an official statement said.

Read | Handwara firing: NC, Cong, CPI(M) demand action against guilty

Mehbooba said that security personnel involved in the killing of two youths in Handwara will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents “cannot” be tolerated.

A masked protester throws rocks and bricks at security personnel during a protest in Srinagar. (AP Photo)

The army officer informed that he would look into the demand of the locals in Handwara area for shifting a military bunker.

The chief minister said such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and the political leadership aimed at consolidating peace efforts in the state.

She said the security forces must exercise maximum restraint and adhere to the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with the public protests as incidents of innocent killings cannot be tolerated.

The chief minister has expressed solidarity with the families of the two youth.

Read | Two men killed after soldiers fire at protesters in Kashmir’s Handwara

According to the Jammu and Kashmir police, an alleged incident of “misbehaviour/molestation” by an army man took place in Handwara town.

“Within minutes, public in large numbers gathered there and attacked the army bunker in Handwara chowk. They assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and attempted to set fire to the bunker,” a police spokesperson said.

In retaliation, the security forces deployed used force to disperse the violent rampaging mob and two people --Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat -- were killed.

A criminal case has been registered in Police Station Handwara and an investigation has been launched to ascertain the facts, the spokesperson said.