Pulwama Killings: Amnesty Demands Independent Probe

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NEW DELHI  — The Amnesty International on Monday demanded an independent investigation into the recent death of seven civilians in clashes that followed an encounter in Pulwama.

Seven civilians died on Saturday when security forces opened fire at a mob that had thronged the site of the encounter in the south Kashmir district in which three militants and an army man were killed, police said.

The militants killed included army deserter Zahoor Ahmad Thoker, who belonged to Simoo village, where the gunfight took place.

“Authorities must conduct a full and independent investigation into the incident, and those responsible must be prosecuted in a civilian court of law,” said Asmita Basu, the Programmes Director of Amnesty India.

Governor Satya Pal Malik had reviewed the law and order situation on the day encounter and ordered a probe by Kashmir’s divisional commissioner into the civilian deaths.

The intentional use of firearms should be done only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life, and law enforcement officials should distinguish between persons engaging in violence and peaceful demonstrators,” Basu added.

On Saturday, a police spokesman had said, the crowd “came dangerously close from different parts to the encounter site” while the army operation was still ongoing, forcing security to resort to firing.

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