Army Faces FIR In Pulwama Firing, Curfew To Go Today

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Administration Meets Civil Society, To Assess Damage To Property

SRINAGAR: Lodging a First Information Report (FIR) against the army over Friday’s firing in Pulwama, the administration agreed to lift curfew in the town from Tuesday after a meeting with civil society amid a harsh, unbroken clampdown for the fourth day.

The case lodged against the army over firing on civilians carries attempted murder charges.

Forces enforcing the curfew came in for severe criticism from town elders for pillaging timber and joinery for roadside bonfires for warmth, and traders’ associations boycotted the meeting in protests against what they termed as large-scale damage inflicted on shops and other commercial establishments by uniformed personnel.

The superintendent of police (SP) for Pulwama, Amit Kumar, who attended the meeting along with the deputy commissioner, Shafa’at Noor, the deputy inspector general (DIG) of the police for South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar and district officers, assured the civil society to set up a team to assess the damage to property suffered by civilians during and before the curfew.

Compensation would be paid for the losses on the basis of the team’s report, the SP said.

The civilian administration too has announced to set up a panel under additional deputy development commissioner, Mir Tariq Ali, to inquire into incidents of ransacking, plunder and assault which civil society alleges was widespread in the run-up to, and during, the curfew.

The town remained under a clampdown for the fourth day running today, and students appearing in annual board examinations had to face great difficulty in reaching their centres.

Many candidates reported to late for the examinations because of frequent police and paramilitary checking en route as the forces made doubly sure that only students with valid identity cards and roll number slips were allowed through.

The town was reeling under a severe shortage of essential in homes, with forces barring outdoor movement even in out of the way interiors and not allowing anyone to venture out even for milk and medicines, locals said.

According to reports, all routes leading to the town had been sealed, and no civilian vehicles were allowed in or out.

Police and paramilitary troopers had been deployed in small lanes and by-lanes too to button the town up, and isolated bids by youth to stage protests and pelt stones at places like Rajpora and Maran Chowk were broken up.

Curfew had been clamped in the town and adjoining localities on Friday after forces firing on civilians during a belligerent upsurge over an encounter that left 2 local Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants dead in Bubgam, 12 km away.

At least eight persons suffering gunshot wounds had been hospitalized in Srinagar – one of whom had to undergo brain surgery at the SKIMS later – prompting the district administration to order an inquiry by a magistrate.     

An FIR has been lodged over the encounter as well, in which three forces personnel, two of them army officers, were wounded.

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