SRINAGAR: The killing of two youth by army in Kashmir yesterday triggered protests in the Valley on Tuesday with separatists calling for shutdown on Wednesday to protest the killings while Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has assured J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of time-bound transparent probe into the incident.
Protests broke out in Nowgam area in outskirts of Srinagar today when bodies of two youth -- 14-year old Faisal Yousuf and another teenager Mehraj-ud-Din Dar – killed in army firing in Chattergam area in central Kashmir’s Budgam district yesterday were brought to their native place.
Youth took to roads and staged anti-government demonstrations. Chanting anti-India and anti-government slogans, the protestors alleged that the two youth were intentionally killed by the army men yesterday.
Two youth were killed and two others injured when army men fired on a maruti vehicle at Chattergam area after it did not stop at the check point on Monday afternoon. The injured youth are undergoing treatment in the army hospital in Srinagar.
The youth in Nowgam area also pelted stones on police and paramilitary personnel, who were deployed in strength in the area to maintain law and order. The cops retaliated by lobbing tear smoke shells and resorting to baton charge. The ding dong battle between the two sides continued for some time.
After the clashes, additional security personnel were rushed to the area.
The deceased were later buried in local grave yard at Nowgam and hundreds of people attended their funeral prayers
Authorities had imposed tough restrictions in sensitive pockets of Srinagar, including downtown Srinagar, to prevent youth from staging demonstrations against the killings.
Meanwhile, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah talked to Union Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on phone and said such incidents have no place in an otherwise improving security environment and serve as severe blows to the holistic efforts of sustainable peace and reconciliation in the State.
He told Jaitley that justice in these cases should be swift and effective so that there is no cynicism in the minds of the people when it comes to their faith in the institutions of justice. “These deaths have served to vitiate the poll atmosphere already strained by the post flood reconstruction challenge that people face”.
Omar said Jaitley assured him of time bound transparent inquiry into the incident. “He assured me that action will be taken if wrong doing is established”.
In a related development, Army has moved its men involved in yesterday’s firing incident to the location of the inquiry. “The Deputy Commander of RR sector conducting the inquiry has been tasked to complete the investigations at the earliest,” an army spokesman said.
He said condition of two injured youth Zahid Abdul Naqqash and Shakir Ahmed Bhat, is stable. Both of them are undergoing treatment at army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.
GOC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha has assured that justice will be done.
Army has regretted loss of lives and ordered an inquiry to investigate into the circumstance leading to the incident.
Meanwhile, moderate separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the “cold blooded murder” and termed it “barbaric”.
Calling for complete shutdown in Valley on Wednesday (November 5), he appealed employees, lawyers, members of civil society, traders, transports and other sections of society to observe complete shutdown tomorrow and raise their protest against the killing of unarmed youth.
“Under the garb of AFSPA and other special powers, Indian troops have been given free license to kill people at will. These laws have empowered persons in uniform to kill people whenever and wherever they like and thus have created an atmosphere of insecurity among Kashmiris,” he said.
Other separatist groups have also called for shutdown tomorrow.