2 Killed in Army Firing, Separatists Call for Shutdown

Srinagar:  Two people were killed and three injured in Sumbal area of Bandipora district on Sunday allegedly in army firing. The army has ordered an investigation into the incident and assured action against the guilty. 

Residents of Markundal village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district alleged that Irfan Nabi Ganai, an 18-year-old student, was killed by army on Sunday. 

Carrying the body, locals staged a protest in the area. However, security forces allegedly opened fire on the protestors injuring four. One of the wounded, Tariq Ahmad, 28, succumbed to his injuries on his way to hospital. However, army sources said soldiers opened fire after a mob tried to set ablaze an army ambulance.

“The incident happened today morning. We have ordered an investigation into the incident. I can assure you that anybody found guilty would be punished,” said Major General RR Nimbhorkar, GOC, Victor Force. 

The GOC said a cordon had been laid around Markundal village after a tip-off about militants.  He said the operation had jointly been launched with police. 

When asked whether he would confirm the two youths died in army firing, the GOC said nothing could be said with certainty unless the investigations were completed. 

Villagers alleged the army killed Ganai after he came out of his home around 3.30am following a confusion that burglars had broken into his house. 

However, Ganai’s family alleged army caught him, dragged him to a wall and pumped bullets in to him.

 “Around 11.30 pm we heard some noise and we thought burglars had broken into our house. When we didn’t find anybody, we returned to our rooms. However, at 2 pm, Irfan informed me about some movement outside our houses. When we came out, we saw a large contingent of army. As we tried to get back into our homes, the soldiers took hold of Irfan and dragged him to the wall and fired ruthlessly at him,” said Muntazir Sultan, Ganaie’s cousin.

 “Irfan was lying on the road in a pool of blood but we couldn’t save him as the army was standing there to shoot us as well. Irfan was an innocent 12th class student,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tariq’s family informed he was the main financial support to them after their other son died in a road accident in 2011.

“He had left the home on Friday evening to attend the marriage of his friend .but we never knew he would never come back home,” said Tariq’s brother, adding, “My other brother died in a road  accident in 2011 and now he (Tariq) was supporting the family by working in a private company, Jamkash Motors, but now the army has snatched all our hopes. My parents were already shattered after Javed’s death, I don’t know how they can withstand this tragedy.”

Spontaneous protests erupted in Markundal and adjacent villages after the news of the killings spread.

The killings have been widely condemned by various mainstream and separatist political parties. Hurriyat (G), Hurriyat (M), JKLF and DFP have called for a complete shutdown on July 1 against the killings. 

Hurriyat (G) spokesperson said in a press statement that the killings were revenge against the June 24 Hyderpora attack in which eight army personnel were killed.

Chairman JKLF, Mohammad Yasin Malik, has termed the killings as cold blooded murder, calling for a complete shutdown on July 1.

Hurriyat (G) Chairman, SAS Geelani, called it state terrorism saying army could afford to kill Kashmiris because AFSPA was there to protect it.

This is the worst example of state terrorism, Under AFSPA, they enjoy impunity and are licensed to kill Kashmiris and go unpunished,” said Geelani.

The Hurriyat (G) Chairman said it was the army that called the shots in Kashmir and not the state administration. “AFSPA and Disturbed Area Act are a licence to kill,” said Geelani, “We’ve been seeing this for the last twenty three years; thousands of Kashmiris have been killed by the forces and not single personnel responsible for such heinous crimes has been booked.”

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a murder case against 13 RR for the killings.

Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, M Y Zargar said an FIR under 115/2013 under section 302 PRC had been registered against army.

He said there was no need to initiate a separate probe other than the police investigation.

“The culprits are already known; they will be identified and an appropriate action will be taken against them,” assured the Deputy Commissioner.

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