Civilian killed in army firing in Kashmir, probe ordered

Civilian killed in army firing in Kashmir, probe ordered

An unidentified relative of Ghulam Mohammed, a civilian killed in a shooting blamed on the Indian Army, wails near his coffin during his funeral at Kellar near Srinagar on Saturday. AP

Five people were also injured in the incident that occurred when troops from the 53 Rashtriya Rifles laid an ambush near Chewan Keller village in order to trap a group of separatist guerrillas.

The army said later that it launched the operation Friday night on the strength of intelligence inputs from the Jammu and Kashmir Police. "A cordon was established at 2.30 a.m. on the outskirts of the village where suspected terrorists were likely to come,” army spokesman Col. D.K. Kachari said in statement.

At around 4.15 a.m., three men entered the cordon from outside the village, the officer said. "On being challenged, they started running away leading to troops opening fire.
“One person was killed, another injured and the third one was apprehended and handed over to the police.”

Locals insisted that the slain man was a civilian and not a militant. The army was accused of killing him without verifying his identity.As the news spread with dawn, large numbers of men and women poured out of their homes and took to the streets shouting anti-India slogans.

The protestors stoned passing army vehicles and torched two of them that got struck in mud. Soldiers escorting the convoy opened fire, injuring four more villagers.The army accused the locals of stoning military vehicles. Police reinforcements rushed to the area to bring the situation under control.

An army officer said that some of the violence took place in the presence of the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Shopian.The protests lasted till afternoon. Senior civil administration and police officials reached the village to pacify the residents.
The body was handed over to the family for burial.Col. Kachari said: “A high level inquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident.”

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