Two youths killed in army firing in Kashmir

Two youths killed in army firing in Kashmir

Two civilians were killed while several others were injured after security forces reportedly opened fire at protesters in south Kashmir's Shopian district on Saturday.

Reports said an army convoy came under attack by a stone-pelting mob in Ganowpora, Shopian, 55 km from here, on Saturday afternoon.

The soldiers onboard responded by opening fire, injuring eleven people, three of whom succumbed to their injuries at a hospital, doctors said.

While confirming the incident, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shopian Sri Ram Ambarkar said, "We've registered an FIR against the army and have launched an investigation into the shooting incident".

An army spokesperson claimed that they were "constrained" to open fire after its convoy came under stone-pelting by a group of 100-120 people.

"The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy and tried to set them on fire. A junior commissioned officer accompanying the convoy got hit on the head and fell unconscious suffering serious injury," he claimed.

"The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire," he added.

Considering the "extreme gravity" of the situation, he said, "The army was constrained to open fire in self-defence to prevent the lynching of the JCO and burning of government vehicle by the mob. A total of seven army men suffered injuries and extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles. In the process, two civilians succumbed to the bullet injuries."

The deceased youths have been identified as Javid Bhat (20) and Suhail Lone (24).

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, said that deputy commissioner, Shopian, has been asked to probe the incident and complete the inquiry within 20 days.

The incident comes just two days after two militants and a teenager were killed in the same district during an encounter between security forces and ultras.

Two girls were also seriously injured in Thursday's incident.

Meanwhile, separatists have called for a complete shutdown in Kashmir on Sunday against the killings, which might spark fresh protests in the violence-hit Valley.

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