Mehbooba Mufti says ‘deeply distressed’ by death of civilians in Shopian, NC demands probe
Six people, including two militants, were killed in a firing incident Sunday night in south Kashmir’s Shopian district in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed anguish over the deaths of civilians in ‘crossfire’ in Shopian while her party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition National Conference demanded a probe into the incident.
“Deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian. My heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s families,” she tweeted.
Four youths and two militants were found dead after a shootout involving army at Pahnoo Shopian on Sunday evening. While two bodies, including of a militant, were found near the site of shooting on Monday morning, four bodies – comprising three youths and a militant – were found on Sunday night.
Army had said that a “militant and his three accomplices” were found dead when it retaliated after a mobile check post of the security forces was fired upon on Sunday evening. It had called the youths as “over-the-ground workers or accomplices” of the militants travelling in a Maruti Swift car, but locals said they were just civilians. A statement by police spokesman also referred to the three youths as “individuals”.
The army was silent about the two persons –one militant and another civilian –whose bodies were found at two different places in Shopian on Monday morning while police connected their deaths to the Sunday night’s incident..
Peoples Democratic Party Leader and MLA Shopian Adv. Mohd Yousuf Bhat said that every civilian killing, notwithstanding how erroneously made, has the tendency of vitiating the peaceful atmosphere.
While appealing for utmost restraint while dealing with law and order situation, he said that the law enforcing agencies are “not learning any lessons from previous such experiences”. He said that such “reckless killings” have in the past inflamed the situation and demanded that a judicial enquiry be ordered to look into the circumstances.
Opposition National Conference said that Shopian “killings cannot be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs (militant over ground workers)”.
The party said that the circumstances and details of the incident should be probed and made public by the state government.
Moderate separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq accused army of “letting loose mayhem” and “spreading propaganda and lies” over the civilian killings.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front chairman Yasin Malik tried to take out a protest from his Maisuma residence towards city centre Lal Chowk. However he was detained by police.