Two civilians were killed on Sunday when security forces in South Kashmir’s Pulwama cracked down on locals protesting their gunfight with alleged militants in the area, plunging the region into discord.
Eyewitnesses said government forces fired bullets and tear gas shells at locals who were pelting stones at the forces in Khar Mohallah area of Kakapora town when an encounter was underway close by. A police statement said one of the victims, a woman, was killed while being evacuated from the site of the gunfight.
Pulwama deputy commissioner Niraj Kumar said he ordered a magisterial inquiry into why forces opened fire on civilians.
Danish Farooq Mir (20), a resident of Ratnipora village and Shaista Hameed (22) of Lelhara village, succumbed to injuries on the way to a hospital. More than a dozen were injured.
Army spokesman NN Joshi said a militant, identified as Adil Ahmad Wagay by the locals, was killed in the encounter.
IANS reported that tensions ran high in the district and senior police and administrative officials had rushed to the town.
Hardline as well as moderate separatist leaders called for a complete shutdown on Monday against what they termed were “cold-blooded murders”.
“We received a youth Danish Farooq Mir who had a bullet injury in his head. He was brought dead to the hospital,” said Block Medical Officer of Pampore Hospital, Dr Showkat Ahmad.
He said that 12 more people were admitted in the hospital with pellet injuries. “One youth had a bullet injury in his abdomen and he was referred to Srinagar hospital,” he said.
A police official said six army men and 15 police officials were injured in the stone pelting by the mob that had gathered in violation of prohibitory orders being in force.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah was quick to express his sadness, tweeting ‘RIP(rest in peace)’ for the souls of killed civilians. “It’s not return of power projects & more money but these situations that will challenge Mehbooba. What’ll she do?,” Omar wrote on the Twitter.