One person was killed and two others were injured on Monday when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers allegedly opened fire at people protesting power shortage at a Jammu and Kashmir village. The state government has promised action against the CISF men responsible.
Five CISF personnel were taken into custody for questioning while an official spokesman expressed deep regret over the incident and said a strong protest has been launched with the Union home ministry.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted on Monday: "5 arrests effected, case registered. No protection under AFSPA will be considered since they (The CISF personnel) weren't on counter-insurgency deployment."
"Tragic beginning to the New Year. Inexcusable use of force in Uri today. Swift and exemplary action has followed. Law will now follow course," the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also tweeted.
The incident took place in Baramulla's Boniyar village, 60 km north of this summer capital Srinagar, when scores of villagers angry at the long hours of power outages took to the streets and later gathered near the local power station, police said.
CISF personnel guarding the station opened fire, killing one protester on the spot and wounding two others.
The incident triggered tension in the area and senior civil and police officers have rushed to the spot.
The Omar Abdullah government has expressed its "deep regret on the tragic firing incident at Boniyar, Baramulla", said the official spokesman, adding it has taken a "very serious view of the incident and has asked the state police to take immediate steps to bring those responsible for the incident to book".
"Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), whose troopers opened the fire, are not a part of the CI (Counter Insurgency) grid operating in Jammu and Kashmir and have been hired by the NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) exclusively for the security of their installations across the state, and are not under the operational command of either the unified headquarters or the state government," he said.
The spokesman said that the state government has taken up the matter with the union home ministry, lodging a serious protest and demanding stern, exemplary action against the officers responsible for the firing incident.
The chief minister has dispatched a high-level team comprising Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohiuddin, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda to the village.
The Kashmir Valley has been facing an acute power shortage that the state government attributes to low water flows in the major rivers here and power pilferage by the consumers. Protests have been seen in Srinagar and other towns in the valley.
"The (power supply) situation is not likely to improve till the beginning of March," said an official of the power development department.