Kashmir firing: Death toll mounts to 3, curfew imposed in Handwara town
Srinagar/New Delhi: The death toll from a firing incident in Jammu & Kashmir's Kupwara district rose to three today as another critically injured civilian has died, according to officials.
Doctors at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar said Raja Begum, 54, who had been admitted to the super specialty hospital on Tuesday, succumbed to a critical bullet injury.
The two youths, identified as Nayeem Ahmad Bhat and Mohammad Iqbal, sustained injuries after forces opened firing on unruly protesters who even tried to torch a soldier’s bunker. Iqbal succumbed to his injuries at Handwara hospital while Nayeem succumbed later on.
Authorities have imposed curfew in Handwara town where tension has increased further after reports of death of another civilian reached the town.
District magistrate Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone said that the imposed restrictions will not apply to the members of the Sikh community who are free to move about in areas placed under restrictions because of the Sikh festival of Baisakhi.
Meanwhile, the army has ordered an inquiry into the killing of two youths during an alleged firing by soldiers in Handwara, as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said such incidents have a negative impact on the state government’s efforts to consolidate peace efforts.
Expressing grief over the incident, Mehbooba called Lt Gen Hooda, heading the strategic Udhampur-based Northern Command, who informed her that the army has already ordered an inquiry into the incident and that tangible action will be taken once the probe is complete.
Mehbooba said that security personnel involved in the killing of two youths in Handwara will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents cannot be tolerated. She said the security forces must exercise maximum restraint and adhere to the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with the public protests as incidents of innocent killings cannot be tolerated.
The Chief Minister also expressed solidarity with the families of the two youth who were killed in firing by security personnel in following protests over the alleged molestation bid by an Army jawan.
Lt Gen Hooda also said that he would look into the demand of the locals in Handwara area for shifting a military bunker.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir police, an alleged incident of “misbehaviour/molestation” by an army man took place in Handwara town.
“Within minutes, public in large numbers gathered there and attacked the army bunker in Handwara chowk. They assaulted the personnel deployed there, ransacked the bunker and attempted to set fire to the bunker,” a police spokesperson said.
In retaliation, the security forces deployed used force to disperse the violent rampaging mob and two people --Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat -- were killed.
A criminal case has been registered in Police Station Handwara and an investigation has been launched to ascertain the facts, the spokesperson said.
On the other hand, the girl involved in the alleged molestation bid has come out in the media and said that the incident was that of robbery and that no security personnel was involved in the act.
“I went to the washroom and handed my bag to a friend. When I came back, a man tried to snatch my bag from me. When I protested, he slapped me. I started shouting….the police came and asked me to come to the police station,” the girl, visibly hassled, told the media narrating the incident.