Army Paints Handwara Red

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SRINAGAR: Following an Indian Army soldier attempting to molest a girl in a public washroom, massive protests broke out in the Handwara township on Tuesday with the demonstrations spiralling out of control leading to the death of two civilians when army soldiers allegedly opened fire upon the protestors.

According to the eyewitnesses, a teenage girl student had gone inside a public washroom in the main market of the town when a trooper from a nearby bunker followed her and barged in. “The girl raised an alarm and locals stepped in and took control of the situation,” they said.

Post the incident massive protests broke out as people hit the streets and protested against the army. “The accused army trooper has been taken back into the camp, we won’t stop till he is arrested,” said witness said.

To contain the angry protests, Army fired bullets in which two local youths got critically injured who later succumbed to their injuries. The slain youth have been identified as Iqbal Ahmed of Bumhama Kupwara and Naeem Qadir Bhat, of Herpora Handwara.

It seems that the youths were intentionally killed by the army as they had received several bullets.

“One youth had bullet injury on head while the other had received bullets on chest and abdomen,” said Medical Superintendent of Handwara hospital.

The mourners while carrying the bodies raised anti-India slogans and hurling stones at the army camp. The police also arrived at the scene and fired scores of teargas shells. Scores of protesters were injured in the violent clashes.

The girl has recorded her statement in the concerned police station, a police source said.

A senior police officer said they will act against the trooper once the girl records her statement.

The situation across the town was violent till the last reports poured in. People, according to reports, have also torched the army bunker.

The incident has received a worldwide condemnation on the social media groups such as Facebook. “A girl faces sexual harassment, people find out and nab that assaulter, people want justice and protest, people get shot using live bullets, two persons get killed, the institution to which the assaulter belongs expresses regret…,” writes Prof Dibyesh Anand of Westminster University. “But we know that neither the assaulter nor the killers will face punishment in civilian courts because they all belong to the army and the girl who was assaulted and humans killed are Kashmiris. Justice won’t be done because it is under rule of law that army operates with complete impunity in Kashmir.”

“Nothing can be as painful for a father as shouldering the coffin of his son,” write Delhi-based, Dr Sanjay Parva on his Facebook wall. “Kashmir fathers and Kashmir sons are such an unfortunate lot – they have shouldered each other’s coffins both within and outside of Kashmir, wherever they are strewn now – some by army bullets, some by heat strokes, some by illnesses not earlier known, and some by snake bites.”

“Conflict has cost all of us our own Kashmiri blood and this will continue until someone out there begins to address it. But, please, killings must stop,” Parva added.

 

Hizb condemn Handwara killings

Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen Tuesday strongly condemned Handwara killings and ‘molestation’ of a teen age girl at the hands of Army personnel.

 In a statement to CNS, Hizb Chief Syed Salahuddin said: “We appeal all international human rights organizations to take cognizance of the worst human rights situation and expose all those responsible for these brazen rights abuses in Kashmir. The world community and human rights bodies should take notice of the rights abuse and agitate against Indian repression in Jammu and Kashmir.”

He added that world rights bodies should also use its offices to stop India from committing further human rights violations in Kashmir.

 “The protest from Handwara by people was justified as the Army was responsible for the molestation of a teen age girl. Showering bullets on protesters can’t be justified and it speaks volumes about anti-Kashmir policies pursued by India,” he said.

 “Hizbul Mujhadeen supports the strike call forwarded by Hurriyat leadership in Kashmir Valley against these innocent killings,” he said.

 

NC, Congress, CPI (M) condemn killings

Srinagar: National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) on Tuesday demanded action against those involved in the firing in Handwara in Kashmir Valley in which two youths were killed and said the guilty be brought to book without any delay.

NC President Farooq Abdullah and Working President Omar Abdullah said the onus was on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ensure that the truth comes to the fore without any delay and the guilty are brought to book.

They expressed grief and sorrow over the incident and conveyed their solidarity with the families of the two youths, a party spokesman said in Srinagar.

Condemning the firing by security forces, Congress and CPI(M) demanded a probe into the killing of two youths.

“Expressing deep shock and grief over loss of two precious lives in Handwara, JPCC President G A Mir has strongly condemned the firing by army personnel,” a PCC spokesman said.

He said the “unfortunate incident could have been avoided” and demanded a probe into the incident, “so that the truth comes out and the guilty personnel are punished”.

CPI(M) MLA from Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also condemned the firing in Handwara town and demanded a time-bound judicial probe into the incident.

“The alleged incident of molestation of a girl and subsequent killing of two youth in firing during protests is highly condemnable and heinous act which cannot be tolerated in any civilised society,” Tarigami said.

He demanded that the authorities take action against those involved in the incident.

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